The 2023 World Happiness Report Reveals Nordic Countries Have the Highest Life Evaluations

The annual ranking sees the United States move up to 15th place, while the U.K. claims the 19th spot.

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The 2023 World Happiness Report is here, and its results are optimistic. The findings come from the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, drawing data from surveys done in more than 150 countries to measure happiness based on a three-year average of life evaluations.

Stating that levels of reported “life evaluations” have been “remarkably resilient,” the annual study dissects six factors — social support, income, health, freedom, generosity and absence of corruption — to assess the differences among peoples’ happiness levels in different parts of the world.

This year, Finland topped the list as the happiest country for the sixth consecutive year, while several Nordic countries followed closely behind, including Denmark (second place) and Iceland (third place). These countries, according to the report, “merit special attention in light of their generally high levels of both personal and institutional trust.”

Meanwhile, the United States moved up from 16th to 15th place, and Canada hopped up two places to 13th. Israel climbed five places to No. 4, the UK dropped two positions to No. 19, and Lithuania claimed the 20th position, having moved up 30 places since 2017.

Following the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s happiness levels declined significantly, moving the country from 69th to 92nd place. 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 study says. Russia, in comparison, fell from 60th to 70th place, between 2021 and 2023.

The study reported that global benevolence increased by 25% when compared to pre-pandemic figures. After a surge in 2020, prosocial, charitable acts continue to increase to above-average levels.

“This year’s report features many interesting insights,” said Lara Aknin, a co-author on the report. “But one that I find particularly interesting and heartening has to do with pro-sociality. For a second year, we see that various forms of everyday kindness, such as helping a stranger, donating to charity, and volunteering, are above pre-pandemic levels.”

Toward the end of the list, Botswana placed 132nd, Zimbabwe placed 134th and Sierra Leone placed 135th. Lebanon and Afghanistan placed 136th and 137th, respectively, remaining the unhappiest nations.

Elsewhere, Playboy Magazine announced its comeback with a digital cover.

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