The U.N. Just Released Its Ranking of the Happiest Countries in the World

The ranking is part of the 2023 World Happiness Report.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the International Day of Happiness, which was introduced in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is also the 10th anniversary since the first World Happiness Report was published, the newest version of which was just published today.

While it might sound otherwise, the World Happiness Report is some serious stuff. Taking into account key factors including social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption, the report offers a deep insight into the world's nations and their political and social role and behavior throughout moments of both crisis and wealth. Ultimately, it provides important guidelines on the people's wellbeing, and serves as a handy tool for governments to learn from one another how to provide better service, protection, and care to its citizens.

"The ultimate goal of politics and ethics should be human well-being," said Jeffrey Sachs, one of the authors of the report. "The happiness movement shows that wellbeing is not a 'soft' and 'vague' idea but rather focuses on areas of life of critical importance: material conditions, mental and physical wealth, personal virtues, and good citizenship. We need to turn this wisdom into practical results to achieve more peace, prosperity, trust, civility— and yes, happiness—in our societies."

The report, published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, gathered and analyzed data from more than 150 countries, where it surveyed people to assess their homeland's happiness level. As part of the report, the countries are then ranked based on their average life evaluation over the span of the last three years.

Overall, this year's report showed that countries around the world seem to be aligned when it comes to resilience—and in a positive way. According to the data, global life satisfaction for the years 2020-2022 is, on average, just as high as that of pre-pandemic years.

"Average happiness and our country rankings, for emotions as well as life evaluations, have been remarkably stable during the three COVID-19 years," John Helliwell, co-author of the report, said in a statement. "Changes in rankings that have taken place have been continuations of longer-term trends, such as the increases seen in the rankings of the three Baltic countries. 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."

Yet, some countries are still happier than others, according to the report. For the sixth year in a row, Finland won the title of happiest country in the world. To celebrate, and to encourage people to discover the secret of happiness, the northern country even launched a contest to participate in a "Masterclass of Happiness" all-expenses-paid trip.

Take a look at the top 20 happiest countries in the world below:

1. Finland
2. Denmark
3. Iceland
4. Israel
5. Netherlands
6. Sweden
7. Norway
8. Switzerland
9. Luxembourg
10. New Zealand
11. Austria
12. Australia
13. Canada
14. Ireland
15. United States
16. Germany
7. Belgium
18. Czech Republic
19. United Kingdom
20. Lithuania

While the top three remained unchanged since last year's list, some nations made significant moves this year, including Israel (improving from ninth to fourth), Canada (15th to 13th), Belgium (19th to 17th), and Lithuania, which did not make the list last year.

To read the entire report and its findings, you can visit this website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.