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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

World's Happiest Place to Live 2023: Finland

Finland has been named the happiest country in the world for six years in a row – 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. That honor was announced by the United Nations with the release of its 11th annual World Happiness Report. The report was published today, March 20, the International Day of Happiness.

Denmark, Iceland, and Israel ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 4th consecutively in the list of 148 countries. The United States is ranked number 15. (Download full list and data rankings from the report here.)

The findings of the World Happiness Report are based on surveys of people in 150 countries and reflect how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The questions focus on six factors: levels of GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and corruption levels. Finland scored the best in all those key areas combined.

So, what makes Finland the Happiest Place on Earth? “It’s not hard to understand why Finland is doing so well,” said Huffpost’s Tess Riley in 2019. “The northern European country has a strong social safety net, including a progressive, successful approach to ending homelessness. It also has a high-quality education system, and its commitment to closing the gender gap is paying off. With a population of just over 5.5 million people, it’s the only country in the developed world where fathers spend more time with school-aged children than mothers.”

Finland’s urban planning also makes people feel healthy and safe. “A person’s environment plays a big role in their happiness which makes the topic of health promotion in cities very important,” says Aalto University professor Marketta Kyttä. “It’s closely related to social sustainability and whether you feel connected to your community.”

And Finns tend to value their relationships with other people much more dearly than material wealth. “The meaning in life is about making yourself meaningful to other people. It’s about connection,” says Finnish philosopher Frank Martela.

Not surprisingly, Finland is also home to HappyOrNot, the company that makes those smiley face touchscreen kiosks that measure customer happiness levels in stores and airport terminals.

Video by Maitienthuong9 at Pixabay

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I believe the happiest people don't seek happiness. They seek things that help improve living and people generally. So a country that places a high priority on health care for all, opportunity for schooling and challenging jobs, challenges in lives, will naturally lead to more happiness for people generally.

Steven Hansen
Steven Hansen

So true! Plus the high value they put on personal relationships over material wealth.

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