The happiest countries in the world (2013 – 2020)

What is happiness?

The term happiness is used not only in the context of mental or emotional states but also used in the meaning of life satisfaction and subjective well-being.

The king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1979, said, “We do not believe in Gross National Product. Gross National Happiness is more important.”

There is truth in his words. Money is not an end in itself. Why do you need a lot of money if you are not happy? Since then, many attempts have been made to measure happiness. One such effort is a World Happiness Report.

How to measure happiness?

The World Happiness Report is a benchmark survey of the state of happiness that ranks nations by how happy their residents perceive themselves to be.

The rankings of happiness are based on a Cantril ladder survey. Nationwide representative samples of interviewees are asked to think of a ladder, with the best conceivable life for them being a 10, and the worst possible experience is a 0. They are then required to evaluate their own current lives on that 0 to 10 range.

The happiness rating connects with many life factors: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and the absence of corruption.

These six variables taken together explain 3/4 of the difference in national annual average ladder scores among countries.

Well-being difference significantly decreases average life evaluations, implying that people are happier to live in societies with less inequality in the quality of life.

Quality of social, urban, and natural environment life explains the higher happiness of the Nordic countries.

Together with the changes in trust and social relationships explain 60% of the happiness gap within the Nordic nations and Europe as a whole. Social connections are very significant, and they are only modestly more widespread in Nordic countries than elsewhere in Europe. The social and institutional trust is exceptionally substantial in raising happiness and decreasing inequality.

Happiest and unhappiest countries in 2020

As of March 2020, Finland has rated the happiest country in the world. It remains to keep the top spot for the third year in a row. Denmark continues to occupy second place.

Map of happiest and unhappiest countries in the world
2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Top 20 happiest nations in 2020

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

In 2020, Afghanistan is the unhappiest country around the world. For people living in Afghanistan, war conflicts, political vulnerability, and economic anarchy have been a near-constant reality. More than 40% of the nation’s total population lives below the poverty line.

Top 20 unhappiest nations in 2020

  1. Afghanistan
  2. South Sudan
  3. Zimbabwe
  4. Rwanda
  5. The 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

Happiest and unhappiest nations of all time

Denmark is the happiest country of all time in the world. This country has taken first place three times (I-3), four times a second (II-4), and two times the third place (III-2) in the ranking of the happiest countries in the world.

Map of Happiest and unhappiest countries of all time

Top 10 the happiest countries of all time

  1. Denmark (I-3; II-4; III-2)
  2. Finland (I-3; II-1; V-2; VI-1; VII-1)
  3. Norway (I-1; II-2; III-2; IV-2; V-1)
  4. Switzerland (I-1; II-1; III-2; IV-1; V-1; VI-2)
  5. Iceland (II-1; III-2; IV-2; IX-1; XX-1)
  6. Israel (IV-4; XI-5; XIII-1; XIV-2)
  7. Netherlands (IV-1; V-1; VI-4; VII-2)
  8. Canada (V-2; VI-2; VII-3; IX-1; XI-1)
  9. Sweden (V-1; VII-3; VIII-1; IX-1; X-2)
  10. Belgium (VII-1; XV-1; XVI-1; XVIII-2; XIX-1; XX-1)

Togo is the unhappiest country of all time. Togo is one of the poorest nations in the world. Approximately 81% of Togo’s rural inhabitants live under the global poverty line. Almost 28%of children under 5 are persistently malnourished.

Top 10 the unhappiest countries of all time

  1. Togo (I-3; III-1; VI-1; XVIII-2; XIX-1)
  2. Burundi (I-2; II-2; IV-1; V-1; XII-1; XIV-1)
  3. Central African Republic (I-1; II-3; III-2; V-2; XI-1)
  4. Afganistan (I-1; III-1; IV-1; VI-1; XII-1; XIV-1; XV-1)
  5. Syria (II-1; III-1; IV-1; VII-1; VIII-1; IX-1)
  6. Benin (II-2; IV-1; V-1; XIII-1)
  7. Tanzania (III-1; IV-2; VI-1; VIII-1; IX-1; XIII-1)
  8. Zimbabwe (III-2; XI-1; XIII-1; XV-1; XVIII-1)
  9. Rwanda (IV-2; V-3; VI-2)
  10. Sierra Leone (VI-1; XV-1)
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