Finland was named Friday “happiest country in the world” for the fourth consecutive year, ahead of Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland, in a ranking of happiness where the impact of Covid-19 has been surprisingly contrasted.
Germany is in 13th place, Canada is 14th, the United Kingdom 17th, the United States 19th, France 21st while Brazil is 35th, Japan 56th, Russia 76th and China 84th, according to the official ranking of around 150 countries which weights the data for the last three years.
The authors of the United Nations-sponsored study, published since 2012, use Gallup polls asking residents about their own level of happiness. These answers are then crossed with the GDP and indices of solidarity, individual freedom and corruption, to arrive at a score out of 10.
Afghanistan at the end of the ranking
Europe largely dominates the top 10, which also includes the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg and Austria. The only non-European guest: New Zealand, in ninth place. Belgium is in 20th place while Spain and Italy are respectively 27th and 28th.
The ranking also makes it possible to designate the “least happy country on the planet”: Afghanistan, with a score of 2.52, ahead of Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Botswana and Lesotho. India is the lowest ranked Great Power, at an unenviable 139th place.
Comparing data from 2020 to past years to identify the impact of the pandemic, the study authors found a “significantly higher frequency of negative emotions” in about a third of countries.
Covid, a common threat
But 22 countries have seen this indicator evolve positively and “surprisingly there has not been, on average, a decline in well-being in the assessment that people make of their own lives,” says John Helliwell. , one of the co-authors cited in the study.
“One possible explanation is that people see Covid-19 as a common and external threat that harms everyone and that has resulted in a greater sense of solidarity and empathy”, judges the expert.
Despite its long winters and the reputation of its inhabitants, considered not very expansive, even lonely, Finland enjoys a very high standard of living, efficient public services, a vast nature of forests and lakes, and is also very well ranked in terms of solidarity and in the fight against poverty and inequalities.