The World Happiness Report has analyzed self-assessments of quality of life around the world for the past 11 years to calculate overall happiness. Including this year, one nation has topped the list more than 50% of the time.
Indeed, this is Finland, again named the happiest nation in the world. The Nordic country wins for the sixth year in a row with an overall score of 7,804 out of 10. And Finland is making no secret of it: it has launched a live happiness masterclass for 10 lucky participants in the Finnish Lake District, which will also be offered online this summer.
Denmark (7.586) and Iceland (7.530) are in second and third place, respectively, similar to last year. The top 10 happiest nations in 2023 do not change significantly apart from their position in the rankings. Switzerland, for example, drops four places to eighth, and Luxembourg, which was sixth last year, is now ninth. Israel, which has risen from ninth place in 2022 to fourth, is the biggest winner in this case.
The United States is in 15th place, performing slightly better than last year when it was in 16th place. Afghanistan, Lebanon and Sierra Leone are at the bottom of the list.
The report notes that despite the conflict in Ukraine and the damaging effects of the COVID -19 pandemic, people around the world are still resilient, with “global averages in the COVID -19 years 2020-2022 as high as those in the pre-pandemic years 2017-2019.” Another encouraging finding is the amount and frequency of “benevolent acts” increased by 25% last year compared to the year before the pandemic.
“For a second year, we see that various forms of everyday kindness, such as helping a stranger, donating to charity, and volunteering, are above pre-pandemic levels. Acts of kindness have been shown to both lead to and stem from greater happiness,” professor Lara B. Aknin, director of the Helping and Happiness Lab of Simon Fraser University and a social psychologist, said to Travel + Leisure.
According to the report, a country will “only experience high levels of overall life satisfaction if its people are also pro-social, healthy, and prosperous.”
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Gallup World Poll collect about 1,000 responses each year from citizens in each country. The three-year average of these self-assessments serves as the basis for the annual World Happiness Report rankings.