The 2022 World Happiness Report was released on Friday by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

How is the data gathered? The data for the report comes from the Gallup World Poll. The poll asks people to rank their life on a 0 to 10 scale and measures which factors lead to a higher ranking.

  • The life factors studied in the poll are are: GDP levels, life expectancy, social support, generosity, freedom and corruption.
  • The typical sample size for the surveys runs from 1,000 to 3,000 people.
  • “We use responses from the three most recent years to provide an up-to-date and robust estimate of life evaluations,” said the Happiness Report website.

Why is this important? In general, the well-being of a country is measured by GDP statistics. Gallup states that “Leaders need more inclusive metrics to effectively track and lead the progress of their nation. ... Leaders can no longer assume that the lives of those in their countries improve with a rise in GDP.”

  • For example, some Arab countries had an increasing GDP, but the residents rated their lives on a low happiness scale, according to Gallup.

What were the findings? Surprisingly, after two years in a global pandemic, the report found that benevolence increased worldwide within the last year.

  • Reports show that people donated to charity and have helped strangers more, as opposed to before the pandemic, reported an editor of the report to CNN.
  • Data shows that the countries ranking highest in happiness are Nordic countries.
  • The report notes that these countries score very well on “healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support in times of trouble, low corruption and high social trust, generosity in a community where people look after each other and freedom to make key life decisions,” said CNN.
  • On the other hand, countries in times of war are lower on the scale. Ukraine sits at No. 98 and Russia at No. 80.
  • At the very bottom of the rankings, Afghanistan comes in at No. 146, according to the report.

Top 20 happiest countries in the world:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Switzerland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Sweden
  8. Norway
  9. Israel
  10. New Zealand
  11. Austria
  12. Australia
  13. Ireland
  14. Germany
  15. Canada
  16. United States
  17. United Kingdom
  18. Czechia (Czech Republic
  19. Belgium
  20. France