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Finland Ranks as World’s Happiest Country for Seventh Year

The World Happiness Report finds Finland is the happiest country worldwide for the seventh year in a row. While the top 10 remains largely unchanged, the United States dropped from spot 15 to spot 23 in 2024.

When participants were asked about their biggest worries, the recent Ipsos Global Happiness survey found that politics, economics, and personal finances were the main factors that contributed to their unhappiness. Despite these worldwide factors, some countries are happier than others.

The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network studies six variables to assess over 150 countries to determine the world’s happiest countries, evaluating their average life experiences. These factors include social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and the absence of corruption.

Here are the top-ranking countries and what we can learn from them.

Finland

Finland stays at the top and claims the world’s happiest country title, scoring 7.74 out of 10. The country has a strong sense of community support and trust. Finland also displays minimal suspicion of government corruption, a key factor in citizens’ well-being. Finlanders stand up for their freedom to make personal choices, a sentiment that significantly boosts their happiness.

Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveals that Finland also outperforms the average countries in terms of education, safety, social connection, work-life balance, and overall life satisfaction.

Denmark

Denmark is the world’s second-happiest country, with a score of 7.58. It aligns closely with Finland across all six study variables and even outshines Finland in categories like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, generosity, and lack of corruption.

In Denmark, the pursuit of happiness comes with a price tag; residents of Denmark and its islands pay some of the world’s highest taxes and can almost half of their annual income to the government, according to an article by US News & World Report. However, this financial commitment is offset by a system where most healthcare is free, university students enjoy tuition-free education with grants for expenses, childcare is subsidized, and older people receive pensions and dedicated care helpers.

Iceland

Iceland takes the lead regarding social support among the happiest nations, which shows the importance of community bonding. Iceland has the second-highest generosity score, as well, which further bolsters a strong sense of communal giving. Data from the OECD reveals that 98% of Icelanders believe they have someone reliable in times of need, surpassing the OECD average of 91%.

While money alone doesn’t guarantee happiness, it helps raise the standard of living and align salaries. Iceland has a good social system, where people who lose their jobs only experience an income decrease of 1%. Besides, the government offers affordable housing for low-income families, universal healthcare, and quality education.

Sweden

Sweden continues to climb in the World Happiness Report. While Sweden took the 6th place last year, they climbed to the fourth spot this year, and for good reason. Sweden has a solid welfare system that provides healthcare, education, and childcare.

Sweden also has a great work-life balance, with only 1% of the population working long hours, compared to a worldwide average of 10%. Besides, they outperform other countries in terms of income, health, jobs, education, social connection, safety, and life satisfaction. Sweden is known to have great parental leave policies, where new parents receive 480 days (together), and they can decide how they divide these days.

Israel

Given the current circumstances around Israel, it may be surprising that they rank fifth on the list of happiest countries. While they’ve been in the top 10 since 2022, there is a timing difference between when the data is measured and when it is produced. More importantly, cataclysmic events that happen throughout the year are often reflected later in the report since the rankings are based on a three-year average.

The average for Israel is 7.34, but keep in mind, this number doesn’t take into account the recent events unfolding in region now.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands ranks among the happiest countries due to its strong social support, low corruption, and good healthcare. It also outperforms other countries in terms of jobs, work-life balance, education, social networks, safety, and life satisfaction.

The Netherlands stands out as a great place to live, offering a high standard of living, excellent healthcare, and a strong sense of community. Valuing work-life balance, leisure, and social connections, the Dutch lifestyle fosters a quality of life known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Norway

Norwegian citizens, who claim seventh place with a score of 7.30, feel well taken care of by their government. The provision of universal healthcare and tuition-free college shows Norway’s commitment to the well-being of its residents.

More importantly, the country supports a harmonious work-life balance, with an average of 33 hours worked per employee, compared to 37 hours in the United States. Norway further stands out for its social connections, safety, life satisfaction, and environmental quality.

Danny Newman | Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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