Finland is the “happiest country in the world” for the fifth year in a row

Helsinki is the capital of Finland.

Helsinki is the capital of Finland.

Photo: RONI REKOMAA/AFP/Getty Images

Finland was voted 鈥渢he happiest country in the world鈥 for the fifth year in a row on Friday. according to the 鈥淲orld Happiness Report鈥 classification, which places Afghanistan in last place this year.

Costa Rica, in 23rd place, Uruguay (30th) and Brazil (39th) are the best placed Latin American nations in this ranking. Venezuela (108th), for its part, is the Latin American country worst placed in the ranking, even below Iraq.

鈥淭he three most important advances were those of Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. The strongest setbacks occurred in Lebanon, Venezuela and Afghanistan鈥, according to the 鈥淲orld Happiness Report鈥, a study financed by the UN that was carried out ten years ago.

A wake-up call to world leaders

The report is based on surveys that ask people about their feeling of happiness and cross this information with GDP data, levels of individual freedom or corruption, among others.

鈥淭he lesson to be drawn from the report, in these ten years, is that generosity between people and honesty of governments are crucial for well-being,鈥 according to Jeffrey Sachs, one of its co-authors.

鈥淲orld leaders would have to take it into account,鈥 he added.

Finland鈥檚 success

Northern European countries once again dominated the top positions. Finland, with a score of 7.82 out of ten, is ahead of Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Finnish businessman Jukka Viitasaari said he was not surprised that his compatriots described themselves as happy: 鈥淎 lot of things are undeniably good here: beautiful nature, we are well governed, a lot of things are in order,鈥 he said.

The country of vast forests and lakes is also known for well-functioning public services, ubiquitous saunas, widespread trust in authority, and low levels of crime and inequality.

Yet many of the Nordic country鈥檚 5.5 million people describe themselves as taciturn and prone to melancholy, and admit to looking askance at public displays of joy.

鈥淪omeone from outside had to tell us that we are doing well compared to many other places,鈥 added Viitasaari.

JU (afp, kna)

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