Happiness is a universal feeling that everyone regardless of race, religion, and culture wants to achieve.
However, the path to happiness is different for each individual. It is difficult to assume what makes each person happy and the best way to ascertain this is by asking.
According to the World Happiness Report, an annual publication that ranks countries based on their levels of happiness, countries all over the world have been accessed, based on general and fair factors, on how happiness is defined universally.
The World Happiness Report is a survey of the state of global happiness that ranks countries based on several factors. The report, first published in 2012, is produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
The UN General Assembly adopted resolution in July 2011 inviting member countries to measure the happiness of their people and to use the data to help guide public policy. Hence, Every March 20 has been set aside by the UN General Assembly as International Happiness Day.
The factors on which the data for the World Happiness Report is based globally, according to the Gallup World Poll which is the primary source of data for the report, include Gross Per Capital Income (GDP), social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption some of which are based on individual assessment of sampled citizens of each country.
GDP per capita is in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of the citizens meanwhile the time series for healthy life expectancy at birth is measured based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Observatory data repository.
Going forward, social support is determined by the responses recorded from individuals when asked if they have any relatives or friends they can count on to help in times of trouble. Similarly, the freedom to make life choices is measured with answers on whether citizens are satisfied with their freedom to choose what they do with their lives or not.
Generosity answered the question of which individual has donated money to a charity in the past month. Meanwhile, Perceptions of corruption are based on whether corruption is widespread in the government and businesses in the respondents’ country or not. However, where data for government corruption are missing, the perception of business corruption is used as the overall corruption-perception measure.
World happiness is also measured based on positive and negative effects. Positive effect measures laughter, enjoyment, and doing or learning something interesting on the previous day while negative effect measures worry, sadness, and anger experienced by citizens also in the previous day.
Based on the factors above, countries all over the world have been ranked on a scale of 0 to 10 in 2023 to determine the happiest countries in the world.
Here’s the list of the top 10 happiest countries according to the 2023 report by Gallup World Poll in descending order.
10TH – New Zealand
New Zealand rounds out the top 10 happiest countries in the world in two years in a row, thanks to its beautiful natural scenery, high levels of social equality, and excellent healthcare system. New Zealand is also known for its political stability, low levels of corruption, and a strong sense of community.
9TH – Luxembourg
Luxembourg is a small country with a high standard of living, excellent healthcare and education, and a strong economy. The country’s multicultural society and emphasis on work-life balance also contribute to its happiness.
8TH – Switzerland
In what looks like a drastic fall, Switzerland which was formerly in 4th place in 2022 dropped to 8th in 2023. However, Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world with a very low crime rate.
7TH – Norway
Ranked 8th happiest country in 2022, Norway is known for its stunning fjords and natural beauty, but it’s also a country that values social equality and education, making it a happy place to live.
6TH – Sweden
Sweden’s high standard of living, strong social welfare system, and emphasis on work-life balance contribute to its happiness. Additionally, Sweden has a strong sense of community and is known for its innovative and progressive social policies.
5TH – Netherlands
Also maintaining its 5th place since 2022, the Netherlands is known for its liberal policies and high quality of life. The Dutch also have a strong commitment to sustainability and environmentalism.
4TH – Israel
Replacing Switzerland, which was ranked the 4th happiest country in the world in 2022. Israel has been climbing through the happiness rankings in the past three years, from 14th in 2020, 11th in 2021 and 9th in 2022. However questions have been raised as to why everyone one is happy in Israel despite the high corruption rate in the country and low GDP.
3TH – Iceland
Moved up from 4th place in 2021, Iceland has been able to maintain the 3rd position since 2022 till date. Iceland is known for its natural wonders such as the Northern Lights and hot springs, but it also boasts a high level of social support and equality, making it a happy place to live.
2ND – Denmark
Denmark also continues to occupy the 2nd position in six years in a row just like Finland. The country has a progressive tax system that funds social welfare programs such as healthcare, education, and public transportation. Additionally, Denmark has a strong sense of community and a high level of trust among its citizens.
1ST – Finland
For the sixth year in a row, Finland continues to occupy the top spot as the world’s happiest country. The country has a strong social welfare system that provides universal healthcare and education to its citizens. Finland is also known for its beautiful natural landscapes, low levels of corruption, and high levels of trust in government.
However, Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries according to the survey, with average life evaluations more than five points lower -on a scale running from 0 to 10- than in the ten happiest countries.