The old saying may be that “wherever you go, there you are,” but it’s undeniable that some places just simply breed happier people.
This year’s World Happiness Report was just released, and one European country clinched the top spot as the happiest.
Finland is 2022’s happiest country in the world, the fifth year in a row that the Nordic country has won top honors.
In order to rank happiness, individuals are asked to evaluate their own lives by answering a question about their quality of life using a scale that is called the Cantril ladder.
Respondents are asked to envision a ladder with the best possible life that they could be living, then evaluate their current life by choosing a number 0-10, 10 being the best and 0 being the worst. Responses were collected over three years and averaged, with about 1,000 responses recorded annually for each country.
Next, respondents must answer yes and no questions that pertain to positive emotions and whether or not they experienced the emotions the previous day (laughter, enjoyment and learning or doing something interesting) as well as answering the same pertaining to negative emotions (worry, sadness and anger).
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For 2022, Finland was followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands to round out the top five countries with the happiest residents.
The US ranked surprisingly low at # 16 with a 6,977 average life evaluation rating followed by the United Kingdom at # 17 with a 6,943.
Finland came in with an average life evaluation rating of 7,821 out of 10.
This year, notable data revealed that donations, volunteering and helping strangers increased in 2021 vs. 2020 during the height of the pandemic, and positive emotions overall appeared twice as a frequent as negative emotions.
“Giving help to strangers in 2021 was above baseline in all global regions and by more than 10% of the population in six of the ten,” the report states. “Moreover, everywhere, it was also above its 2020 value. The prosociality average is also higher in 2021 in every region than in the 2017-2019 baseline, also showing in all regions an increase from 2020 to 2021. ”
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This year marks the 10th anniversary of the World Happiness Report.