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The World’s Happiest Countries Before Covid-19: Finland Keeps The Top Spot

The World’s Happiest Countries Before Covid-19: Finland Keeps The Top Spot 

Samantha Lewis | Mailonline

Finland – where ice swimming is popular – has been named the happiest country in the world for the third year in a row by the World Happiness Report. Finland has been named the happiest country in the world for the third year in a row by the World Happiness Report – and Afghanistan ranked the bleakest.

The annual United Nations World Happiness Report ranks over 150 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, according to their evaluations of their own lives.

Denmark takes the No.2 spot in 2020’s study, followed by Switzerland in third place and Iceland in fourth. The UK climbs two places to 13th and the U.S is up one place to 18th.

The Happiest And Least Happiest Countries And Cities In The World. 
Happiest Countries 

1. Finland

2. Denmark

3. Switzerland

4. Iceland

5. Norway

6. The Netherlands

7. Sweden

8. New Zealand

9. Luxembourg

10. Austria

11. Canada

12. Australia

13. UK

14. Israel

15. Costa Rica

16. Ireland

17. Germany

18. US

19. Czech Republic

20. Belgium


1.  Afghanistan

2. South Sudan

3. Zimbabwe

4. Rwanda

5. Central African Republic

6. Tanzania

7. Botswana

8. Yemen

9. Malawi

10. India

11. Lesotho

12. Haiti

13. Zambia

14.  Burundi

15. Sierra Leone

16. Egypt

17. Madagascar

18. Ethiopia

19. Togo

20. Comoros


1.  Helsinki, Finland

2. Aarhus, Denmark

3. Wellington, New Zealand

4. Zurich, Switzerland

5.  Copenhagen, Denmark

6. Bergen, Norway

7. Oslo, Norway

8. Tel Aviv, Israel

9. Stockholm, Sweden

10. Brisbane, Australia

11. San Jose, Costa Rica

12. Reykjavik, Iceland

13. Toronto Metro, Canada

14. Melbourne, Australia

15. Perth, Australia

16. Auckland, New Zealand

17. Christchurch, New Zealand

18. Washington, USA

19. Dallas, USA

20. Sydney, Australia


1. Kabul, Afghanistan

2.  Sanaa, Yemen

3. Gaza, Palestine

4. Port-au-Prince, Haiti

5. Juba, South Sudan

6. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

7. Delhi, India

8. Maseru, Lesotho

9. Bangui, CAR

10. Cairo, Egypt

11. Kigali, Rwanda

12. Kumasi, Ghana

13. Khartoum, Sudan

14. Monrovia, Liberia

15. Antananarivo, Madagascar

16. Harare, Zimbabwe

17. Colombo, Sri Lanka

18. Lome, Togo

19. Gaborone, Botswana

20.  Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The remaining countries in the top ten are Norway (5th), the Netherlands (6th), Sweden (7th), New Zealand (8th), and Austria (9th), followed by top-10 newcomer Luxembourg.

Joining Afghanistan (153rd) at the bottom of the table are South Sudan (152nd), Zimbabwe (151st), Rwanda (150th), Central African Republic (149th), Tanzania (148th), Botswana (147th), Yemen (146th), Malawi (145th) and India (144th).

In addition to the country rankings, the World Happiness Report 2020, for the first time, has ranked cities around the world according to subjective wellbeing.

The report shows that in general the happiness ranking of cities is almost identical to that of the countries in which they are located. And it comes as no surprise that the happiest city is Finland’s capital, Helsinki.


Filling out the rest of the top ten are Aarhus, Denmark (2nd); Wellington, New Zealand (3rd); Zurich, Switzerland (4th); Copenhagen, Denmark (5th); Bergen, Norway (6th); Oslo, Norway (7th); Tel Aviv, Israel (8th); Stockholm, Sweden (9th), and Brisbane, Australia (10th).

Meanwhile, Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan (186th), is at the bottom of the table followed by Sanaa in Yemen (185th) and Gaza in Palestine (184th). Above those are Port-au-Prince, Haiti (183rd); Juba, South Sudan (182nd); Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (181st); Delhi, India (180th); Maseru, Lesotho (179th); Bangui, CAR (178th), and Cairo in Egypt (177th).

Professor John F. Helliwell of the University of British Columbia, who co-edited the report, said: ‘A happy social environment, whether urban or rural, is one where people feel a sense of belonging, where they trust and enjoy each other and their shared institutions.

‘There is also more resilience, because shared trust reduces the burden of hardships, and thereby lessens the inequality of wellbeing.’

While Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, director of the wellbeing research centre at the University of Oxford, commented: ‘Generally, we find that the average happiness of city residents is more often than not higher than the average happiness of the general country population, especially in countries at the lower end of economic development.

‘But this urban happiness advantage evaporates and sometimes turns negative for cities in high-income countries, suggesting that the search for happiness may well be more fruitful when looking to live in more rural areas.’

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