The happiest countries in the world have been revealed – and Finland has been named the jolliest for the fourth year in a row.
Other Nordic countries dominated the top spots in the annual World Happiness Report, with Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands making the top five.
The UK scraped into the top 20, but fell from 13th to 18th place in the global list and experienced one of the larger drops in happiness compared to before the pandemic.
Researchers said the measure for “life evaluation” in the UK fell from 7.16 in 2019 to 6.80 in 2020 – a statistically significant change.
When looking at wellbeing in the UK during the first six months of coronavirus, the researchers from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said mental health was “one of the greatest casualties” of the pandemic.
The report was collated slightly differently this year due to Covid. Researchers couldn’t complete face-to-face interviews in all countries, and had to switch things up by focusing on the relationship between wellbeing and Covid-19.
Surprisingly, despite the pandemic, the report found “no overall global decline” in people’s perceptions of their wellbeing in a survey of 156 countries.
Top 20 world’s happiest countries:
9. New Zealand
14. United States
16. Czech Republic
18. United Kingdom
“This has been a tough year for so many of us, and the World Happiness Report shows that the UK has suffered more than most when it comes to happiness,” commented Dr Mark Williamson, CEO of Action for Happiness.
“Policymakers should take this as an opportunity to centre human happiness and wellbeing as we recover from the pandemic so that we can build back happier.”
The report found that the pandemic had a lesser effect on communities with greater levels of institutional trust, greater community benevolence, and less income inequality. “Not only do these things make us happier, but when it comes to Covid, they can save lives,” said Dr Williamson.