Why it's interesting that Finland is the happiest country in the world
The annual UN World Happiness Report was released today.
The report ranks the level of life satisfaction in 156 countries worldwide based on Gallup polls and represents a treasure trove of fascinating facts.
First up is Costa Rica which is the best at turning wealth into well being. To put this into perspective, they have a GDP per capita of about $17,000 but are five places ahead of the USA whose GDP per capita is $60,000!
Speaking of the USA, the country has dropped places again, and is now sitting at 18th down from 14th last year.
“The main reason for the drop in happiness and life satisfaction in the States is that the US is facing a social crisis, where more and more people find that they have no one to count on in times of need. Too many Americans are lying awake at night worrying about lack of health care or whether they can afford to pay the rent next month,” says Meik Wiking, CEO of The Happiness Institute and author of The Happy Course.
In the UK, despite Brexit, happiness levels remain strong and stable in 19th place for the second year running.
The big one, however, that everybody is talking about is Finland.
The country famous for its lakes and cold weather has jumped from 4th place to 1st. They are ahead of the other Nordic countries Norway, Denmark and Iceland. What's interesting to note is that Finland is the poorest country in the Nordics. When it comes to converting wealth to wellbeing, Finland must be getting something right.
Here are just some of the reasons to be cheerful if you live in the world’s happiest country:
All teachers receive subsidised masters degrees.
Finland is the third most gender equal country in the world.
Education is free and kids don’t start school until the age of seven.
New parents get 1 year of maternity/paternity time collectively.
Expectant mothers receive a basket of baby goods free from the government.
Wealth is very evenly distributed. Income inequality is low compared to other countries.
All of this information and much more is available in the downloadable World Happiness Report.