Finland Has Been Named The Happiest Country On Earth

Fans of skiing saunas and Father Christmas won't be surprised to hear Finland has been named the happiest place to live. Its capital Helsinki is shown in this file

The United States is not the world's happiest place.

The country pipped last year's victor Norway to came top of the World Happiness Report, which ranked 156 countries on their happiness levels considering factors such as life expectancy, social support and corruption.

According to the World Happiness Report 2018, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), people in Finland were the most content, over taking its neighbor Norway as the happiest place to live.

In fact, the USA has never even entered the top 10 of the World Happiness Report ranking. In reaching No. 1, Finland nudged neighbouring Norway into second place.

The list is then followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia to make up the top ten in the report.

The United States fell from 14th to 18th this year, perhaps due to emerging health problems that threaten happiness - obesity, the opioid crisis and depression.

Its largest immigrant groups come from other European nations, but there also are communities from Afghanistan, China, Iraq and Somalia.

Meik Wiking, CEO of the Denmark-based Happiness Research Institute, said the five Nordic nations reliably rank high in the index because they "are doing something right in terms of creating good conditions for good lives".

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"The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born", he said.

"Although immigrants come from countries with very different levels of happiness, their reported life evaluations converge towards those of other residents in their new countries", he added.

"Briefly put, (Nordic countries) are good at converting wealth into well-being", Wiking said.

"The 10 happiest countries in the overall rankings also fill 10 of the top 11 spots in the ranking of immigrant happiness".

The countries with the happiest immigrants were not the richest countries, but instead the countries with a more balanced set of social and institutional supports for better lives.

The United States, 14th previous year, is now 18th, while the United Kingdom is in 19th, the same spot it occupied in 2017.

Taiwan was ranked 33rd happiest country a year ago in the same report.

The US also has seen declining "trust, generosity and social support, and those are some of the factors that explain why some countries are happier than others", Mr Wiking said. "The trends are not good, and the comparative position of the USA relative to other high-income countries is nothing short of alarming".



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