man and woman overlooking sea
 Finland has once again been named the happiest country in the world. Image: Visit Finland/Emilia Hoisko
Country rankings

Finland named happiest country in the world for fourth year running

A high level of mutual trust amongst its citizens has contributed to Finland being listed first in the World Happiness Report 2021.

James O’Sullivan


Overall, more than 150 countries were assessed by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. The report took into account factors such as perceived freedom, honesty, welfare, good health and generosity when ranking each country.

Finland was joined in the top five by Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Researchers pointed to Finland’s high level of trust among its population as one of the reasons behind it topping the list once again, viewing it is “helping to protect lives and livelihoods during the pandemic”.

The report also identified citizens’ confidence in their governments as a contributing factor in explaining each country’s COVID-19 death rate.

In what has been a trying year spent battling the pandemic, the impact on such factors as mental health was predictably severe worldwide. However, the researchers behind the report identified some positive signs in the global populace.

“Surprisingly there was not, on average, a decline in wellbeing when measured by people’s own evaluation of their lives,” said John Helliwell, one of the editors of the report. “One possible explanation is that people see COVID-19 as a common, outside threat affecting everybody and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and fellow-feeling.”

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