The 21 happiest countries in the world

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The happiest countries in the world have a lot in common – including their policies on immigration.

For the latest World Happiness Report, a yearly ranking from the United Nations that assesses a country’s average well-being by looking at its income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, and trust and generosity, the authors paid particular attention to migration.

“Perhaps the most striking finding of the whole report is that a ranking of countries according to the happiness of their immigrant populations is almost exactly the same as for the rest of the population,” the authors of the report wrote.

Finland earned the number one spot on the list this year.

Here’s a snapshot of the top 20 countries on the 2018 list:


20. Czech Republic — The country bumped Chile out of the top 21 countries this year.

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20. United Arab Emirates — The most significant factor in the UAE’s positive ranking (which improved one place since last year) was its GDP per capita, followed by its social support.

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19. United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland remained in the same spot as last year, with social support and per capita GDP appearing to play the biggest roles in its score.

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18. United States — The country dropped four places on the rankings, something the report’s editors attribute to social causes like less perceived personal freedom, lower social support, and mental illness.

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Flickr/Scott Loftesness

17. Luxembourg — This country’s GDP per capita played a strong role of the 21 top countries in determining its place on the ranking.

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Source: Business Insider UK


16. Belgium — This country ranked almost identically with Germany, with GDP and social support playing the strongest roles in its score.

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15. Germany

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14. Ireland — The country moved up a spot since last year’s ranking, and its score is based heavily on how residents ranked their social support.

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13. Costa Rica — Out of all the countries in the top 21, Costa Rica had among the lowest GDP per capita. Nevertheless, its high levels of social support and low levels of perceived corruption earned it the same spot on the list as last year.

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Source: Business Insider


12. Austria

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11. Israel — The country ranked in the same spot as last year, thanks to its high GDP per capita and perceived social support.

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Source: The Guardian


10. Australia — The country did well overall, but social issues like mental and physical illness kept it from earning a higher place on the list, according to the report’s editors.

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9. Sweden — This country moved up one place from last year, with social support, high GDP per capita, and healthy life expectancy earning it a place in the top 10.

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8. New Zealand — Despite having a slightly lower GDP per capita than Australia, the two countries rank almost identically on the list in terms of all their happiness factors except generosity, with Kiwis being slightly more generous than Aussies.

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7. Canada — The country retained its ranking this year, with social factors like diversity continuing to play a strong role. Canada also ranked among the top five “potential destinations” for people looking to emigrate from their current country.

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6. The Netherlands — The country and Canada have very similar happiness profiles, ranking neck-and-neck in terms of most of its happiness factors.

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5. Switzerland — The country received almost an identical score to Iceland this year, but scored slightly lower on measures of generosity and healthy life expectancy.

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4. Iceland — Social support proved to be one of the most important factors considered in the rankings, and of all the nations surveyed by the Gallup World Poll, Iceland performed among the best.

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Getty Images/Spencer Platt

3. Denmark — The country fell one place in the ranking, but retains a steady score based on all of its happiness factors.

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Flickr/Núria i JC

2. Norway — Four different countries have held top spots on this list for the past three years: Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Overall, they all continue to do very well on measures of the well-being of their migrants and their population as a whole.

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1. Finland — The country rocketed from fifth to first place this year. Four other Nordic countries also stayed in the top five happiest countries on the list. “Finland is at the top of both rankings in this report, with the happiest immigrants, and the happiest population in general,” the report’s authors wrote.

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