Finland is the happiest country in the world for the second year in a row, according to the latest World Happiness Report.
It’s followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and The Netherlands.
At the tail end of the list, is South Sudan, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Tanzania and Rwanda as some of the unhappiest countries to live in.
Yes you read that right, Rwanda scores a ranking of 152 out of 156 countries. Meaning they’re the fifth most melancholy people on planet earth.
Uganda, is ranked 136 out of 156 countries, sandwiched between Swaziland at 135 and Egypt in 137 position.
The World Happiness Report was released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on March 20, the date that the United Nations has declared to be the International Day of Happiness.
The report ranks countries on six key variables that support well-being: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.
“The top 10 countries tend to rank high in all six variables, as well as emotional measures of well-being,” says report co-editor John Helliwell, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia.
And that’s not just about the native-born residents of those countries.
“It’s true that last year all Finns were happier than rest of the countries’ residents, but their immigrants were also happiest immigrants in the world,” says Helliwell. “It’s not about Finnish DNA. It’s the way life is lived in those countries.”
They pay high taxes for a social safety net, they trust their government, they live in freedom and they are generous with each other. “They do care about each other,” he says. “That’s the kind of place people want to live.”
Differences among the top eight countries are small enough that jostling among the top five is expected every year.
Switzerland came in sixth place, followed by Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria.
The 2019 list only changed a little, with Austria nudging Australia out of the top 10 list. Australia dropped one spot to 11th place.
The United States came in 19th place, dropping one spot since last year and a total of five spots since 2017.
Except for its 10th place ranking for income, the US doesn’t rank in the top 10 on measures that make up a happy country in the UN report. They include 12th place for generosity, 37th place for social support, 61st place for freedom and 42nd place for corruption.
No other super powers made it into the top 10 rankings, either. The United Kingdom came in 15th place, up from 18th place, while Germany came in 17th place, down from 15th. Japan came in 58th place (down from 54th), Russia came in 68th place (down from 59th) and China came in 93rd place (down from 86th).
People in South Sudan are the most unhappy with their lives, according to the survey of 156 countries, followed by Central African Republic (155), Afghanistan (154), Tanzania (153) and Rwanda (152).
Bolstered by population growth, overall world happiness has fallen over the past few years, which has mostly been fueled by a sustained drop in India, which came in 140th place this year (versus 133rd place in 2018). There has also been an increase of negative emotions, which were also measured and include worry, sadness and anger.