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Something to smile about – Finland named world’s happiest country

Happiness, and today, March 20 being celebrated as International Day of Happiness, is an interesting thing to note, particularly in light of a global pandemic that has killed infected almost a quarter of a million people and killed more than 10,000.

Finland was named the world’s happiest country for the third year in a row. (Photo: cnn.com)

But, being declared the world’s happiest country goes beyond the immediate prevailing context, says the World Happiness Report 2020. The annual rankings take into account six primary variables: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

For the third consecutive year, Finland topped the list of 156 countries based on how happy citizens perceive themselves to be, according to their evaluations of their own lives.

“Despite the general consistency among the top country scores, there have been many significant changes among the rest of the countries.”

– World Happiness Report 2020

Iceland plus three other countries which previously held the top spot completed the top five. Denmark, which was first in 2012, 2013 and 2016, was runner-up to Finland, while Switzerland (first in 2015), Iceland and Norway (first in 2017) complete the top tier.

“Generally, we find that the average happiness of city residents is more often than not higher than the average happiness of the general country population, especially in countries at the lower end of economic development,” said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, an editor of the report. “But this urban happiness advantage evaporates and sometimes turns negative for cities in high-income countries, suggesting that the search for happiness may well be more fruitful when looking to live in more rural areas.”

Trinidad and Tobago was the best-ranked Caribbean nation.

Of the regional territories featured on the list, the best ranked Caribbean nation is Trinidad and Tobago which placed 42nd with a score of 6.192. Jamaica was next at 60th (5.890) closely followed by the Dominican Republic (68th).

The report said “despite the general consistency among the top country scores, there have been many significant changes among the rest of the countries.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Afghanistan was the worst ranked nation at 153 with a score of 2.567, finishing just ahead of a series of African nations including South Sudan (152nd), Zimbabwe (151st), Rwanda (150th) and Central African Republic (149th).

The World Happiness Report is produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, using date from Gallup World poll, with the main purpose being to review the science of measuring and understanding subjective well-being and to track the quality of life in participating nations.