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Finland is the world's happiest country; PH drops to 76th —World Happiness Report 2023

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Mar 20, 2023 9:35 pm

It looks like it's a great time to move to Finland as the country has emerged as the world’s happiest country yet again, according to the World Happiness Report rankings for 2023.

The report is based on a global survey data from people in more than 150 countries, wherein it ranks countries that are the "happiest" based on their average life evaluations from 2020 to 2022. It also identifies the factors that tend to lead to greater happiness.

Results revealed that Finland maintained its position for the sixth time in a row, with Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Israel, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and New Zealand following suit.

"The Nordic countries merit special attention in light of their generally high levels of both personal and institutional trust,” wrote the authors. “They also had COVID-19 death rates only one-third as high as elsewhere in Western Europe during 2020 and 2021—27 per 100,000 in the Nordic countries compared to 80 in the rest of Western Europe."

It also showed that the Philippines' ranking has moved down to 76 from last year's 60. However, they noted that the findings for the Philippines are based on the averages of the surveys from 2020 and 2021 as they do not have survey information from 2022.

On the other side of the spectrum, however, it is found that war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries in the survey with a rank of 137 and 136, respectively.

These are based on measures such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and freedom from corruption.

The report also found that life evaluations, which refer to a person's thoughts about his or her life, "continued to be remarkably resilient" despite the ongoing pandemic.

Having an effective government is also revealed to be a key factor in the happiness of the people, and this is measured by its ability to raise money, ability to deliver services, rule of law, and how it avoids civil war and repression.

For countries that are striving to achieve greater happiness,z researchers advised that the state should consider policies that will enrich the lives of its citizens.

"Governments and international organisations should establish rights such as those in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They should also broaden the Sustainable Development Goals to consider well-being and environmental policy dimensions jointly in order to ensure the happiness of future generations," the report read.

"These rights and goals are essential tools for increasing human happiness and reducing misery now and into the future," it added.

In 2022, the Philippines was recorded as the second happiest country in Southeast Asia, and ranked 60th out of 146 overall.