Best Places to Live: New Report Ranks Happiest Places on Earth

Scandinavians are on top, as usual.

Wikimedia / Petritap

If you want to live it up in the top-ranking country in the world when it comes to quality of life, you’ll want to head to Finland. A new survey by the Gallup World Poll shows the northern European country is this now deemed the “happiest” nation on the planet.

The study, which was conducted between 2015 and 2017 and based on pooled United Nations data from around the world, says the Finns are now considered the most joyous folks around. This is due to several factors, such as adequate healthcare and healthy life expectancy.

“All the top countries tend to have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity,” the report says.

Also of note, the only four countries to hold top spots in the four most recent happiness reports are Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and the new addition, Finland.

Since the last ranking back in 2015, the biggest “happiness gain” goes to the West African country Togo, which moved up 17 places in three years. Meanwhile, Venezuela dropped the most, “down 2.2 points on the 0 to 10 scale” of happiness by its residents. The study also notably shows the United States dropped from 13th to 18th place.

Furthermore, this year’s Gallup World Poll not only helps rank the levels of people’s happiness around the world, but it also highlights the quality of “migration within and between countries.”

To this note, the report finds that “immigrant happiness, like that of the locally born, depends on a range of features of the social fabric, extending far beyond the higher incomes traditionally thought to inspire and reward migration.”

This means that nations with the “happiest immigrants” are not necessarily the countries with the most wealth, but the ones with a “balanced set of social and institutional supports for better lives.” These include useful social programs, as well as an emphasis on work-life balance.

Overall, the report clearly highlights that Nordic countries with the most robust social and economic support for their residents tend to be the happiest among the world. Meanwhile developed nations, such as the U.S., tend to rank lower despite their strong economies and overall wealth.

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