Residents of this newly announced happiest country rated their happiness levels at a 7.6 out of 10, on average.
When you picture the happiest country in the world, you may imagine a sun-soaked land of soft, sandy beaches and warm, rolling waves: a total tropical paradise. The reality may surprise you, though, as the official happiest country in the world is now the Nordic nation of Finland.
The World Happiness Report 2018—released March 14—names Finland as the happiest country of the world, beating out neighbors Norway, Denmark, and Iceland for the top spot. The World Happiness Report 2018 is produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network with the support of several international research institutions, and this year’s findings were released at a launch event in the Vatican in advance of International Day of Happiness (March 20).
The Report ranks 156 countries by residents’ happiness levels based on data from the Gallup World Poll gathered between 2015 and 2017. Survey questions asked respondents to rate their current lives on a scale of 0 through 10, with the worst possible life for them being a 0 and the best possible life being a 10. The average ranking for residents of Finland was 7.632, while runner-up Norway had an average rating of 7.594. The United States came in at 18, with an average happiness rating of 6.886.
According to the World Happiness Report, all the top countries in the ranking tend to have high values for six key variables found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, and generosity. (Similar categories were used to determine the happiest cities in the U.S.)
The World Happiness Report also considered the happiness of immigrants, with several chapters of the concluding document focusing on the happiness of migrants, the families they left behind, and the people living in the cities and countries receiving migrants.
For more information on the World Happiness Report methodology and to see the full ranking of all 156 countries, visit worldhappiness.report.