Canada slips in ranks while Finland tops global happiness report

World Happiness Report, by the U.N Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 156 countries

Finland has topped an index of the happiest nations for the second consecutive year, with researchers saying the small Nordic country of 5.5 million has succeeded in generating a happiness recipe for a balanced life not simply dependent on economic and material wealth.

The World Happiness Report, produced by the U.N Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens see themselves to be.

It’s based on factors including economic wealth, life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices and levels of government corruption.

The index, published Wednesday, showed the other Nordic countries did well again this year, with Denmark, Norway and Iceland taking the next spots. The remaining top ten nations were The Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria.

The United States dropped from the 18th to 19th place despite enjoying a booming economy in the past few years.

Canada ranked 9th this year, compared to 7th last year.

The 134-page report noted that, in general, happiness levels have decreased worldwide despite continued economic growth. That’s partly explained by “dramatic falls” in happiness in population dense countries like the United States, Egypt and India, it said.

“The worldwide tendency of a considerable decline in average happiness, despite the general growth in GDP per capita, is proof that measuring happiness and life satisfaction in terms of economic wealth alone is not at all sufficient,” said Meik Wiking, CEO of think-tank The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, who took part in the report.

READ MORE: Vancouver unhappiest city in Canada: Survey

READ MORE: The secret to happiness is helping others

Wiking believes the erosion of happiness in the United States can be blamed on a “social crisis” where many Americans are increasingly feeling that they cannot trust their fellow citizens and feel “they have no one to count on in times of need.”

“The divide between rich and poor also creates an erosion of the cohesion and trust between people, which is so vital for the feeling of safety and security and therefore for the overall happiness level of the American people,” Wiking said.

“By most accounts, Americans should be happier now than ever,” wrote Professor Jean M. Twenge from the San Diego State University, referring to low U.S. unemployment and violent crime rates, improved living standards and income level.

She suggested that a factor could be the substantially increased time Americans are spending on electronic devices and social media, habits that have led to low in-person social interaction and decreased sleeping time, among other things.

The report noted that happiness has declined the most drastically in the past ten years in the 108th placed Venezuela, a South American nation currently in economic turmoil with a severe political crisis.

Out of the bottom ten countries in the index, six are African nations. South Sudan is the least happy country, followed by Central African Republic and Afghanistan.

The report was compiled by prominent economists John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey D. Sachs.

Jari Tanner, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Art as reconciliation: Ymir artist hosting BC Culture Days event

Damian John will lead a workshop titled Exploring Reconciliation Through Creativity

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Brittny Anderson seeks Nelson-Creston NDP nomination

Anderson is currently a member of Nelson city council

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

Kaslo art exhibit invites you to play in the forest

Hide and seek on the Kaslo River Trail

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read