Reviewing the world’s happiest countries


Glowing in the darkness of night, the Northern Lights are a naturally occurring show that make their appearance through many months of the year in Finland. This is just one of the countless reasons that this country is the highest ranking in the world’s happiness.

Janie Inscore, Staff Reporter

The 2019 World Happiness Report has officially been released! This report is a measure of the world’s happiest countries, so if you are interested in hearing about the wellbeing of the world surrounding you and even in finding out where the U.S. stands in the rankings, continue reading!

 Six factors were used as a measure of how supported the citizens of each of the 156 countries that were ranked felt. These factors were generosity, freedom to make life choices, social support, income, life expectancy, and the absence of corruption. Each of the six factors played a role in the happiness rankings of the world’s countries, where Finland once again placed at the top of the list for the second year in a row. So why is it that this country is home to people that are so happy? For what reason is the US continuing to fall lower and lower each year, placing nineteenth in 2019?

 A small, icy country, residents of Finland, or Finns, value generosity more than anything, assumedly stemming from the ‘team-first’ attitude and the caring government that these people are accustomed to. This national value is much unlike that of countries such as South Sudan and Afghanistan who placed last in this year’s World Happiness Report. Finns have also reported being willing to pay high taxes for a social safety net, being trustful of their government and its leaders, and constantly striving for a more equal community. While Finns are seen as the best of the best, it is actually common for the top five of the World’s Happiest countries to jostle around in order each year. This is because the highest ranking countries are all strong in the six variables they are judged on and have few significant differences. However, Finns are especially known for their focus on the betterment of all people, something that has set them apart in both 2018 and 2019. Furthermore, Finnish residents are not keen on competing for individual success, something that citizens of the U.S. know all too well.

 Junior Rachel Nelms said, “I think the US falls nineteenth in the World’s Happiest Countries ranking because of the unjust laws, unfair wages, and the continuously worsening problem of discrimination that our country faces.” Rachel is not wrong, as the U.S. did not place in the top ten of any of the six ranking categories this year except for income. According to experts, the main reason behind this is the addiction epidemic combined with the fixed attitude of United States citizens that success is most important to have for oneself, rather than to be shared amongst everyone, as the Finns believe.

 As can be seen above, a happy country results mostly from happy people. While Finland has shown to be home to many happy people, places like New Zealand have also placed eighth in the rankings even after surviving tragedies like attacks and terrorism have struck. This shows that the resilience of people and the attitude of a community is the backbone of a country, contributing ultimately to a government’s welfare and a number one ranking in the World Happiness Report!