The World Happiness Report was released on Monday, ranking the happiest countries in the world based on average life evaluations from 150 nations. The good news is happiness remained "remarkably resilient" over the past three years, with global averages aligning with the three years before the pandemic, CNN reports.
"Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness," one of the authors of the report John Helliwell remarked. "Benevolence to others, especially the helping of strangers, which went up dramatically in 2021, stayed high in 2022," he added. The report found that acts of benevolence were approximately one-quarter higher in 2022 than before the pandemic.
Finland also continues its streak as the world's happiest country for the sixth year. The report evaluates a country's happiness based on GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, perceptions of corruption, and dystopia. "Finland seems to excel here because of the Finnish welfare system's ability to help its citizens feel taken care of," according to Aalto University lecturer Frank Martela. The U.S. is number 15 this year and has remained in the top 20 for several years. France, however, was kicked from the top 20 and replaced with Lithuania.
Afghanistan and Lebanon ranked the lowest in happiness this year — their evaluation was on average five points lower than the top ten countries. Ukraine's happiness ranking (now 92) decreased this year largely due to the war, but "despite the magnitude of suffering and damage in Ukraine, life evaluations in September 2022 remained higher than in the aftermath of the 2014 annexation, supported now by a stronger sense of common purpose, benevolence, and trust in Ukrainian leadership," the report writes.
"The objective of every institution should be to contribute what it can to human well-being," the report says.