This Is the Happiest Country in the World, New Study Finds

New survey finds which nations are feeling best after a tough year

While the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, there have been marked differences in how each country has responded to it. Of course, this is partly due to varying government responses, medical resources, and the health of the population. But there is also another major factor to consider: how a country functions as a culture, particularly how happy they are. For the past nine years, researchers from across the world have come together to define just that via the World Happiness Report, a global survey of individual attitudes toward happiness, trust, and life satisfaction. With this year's report edited by academics from the Universities of British Columbia and Alberta, and using data from the Gallup World Poll, the Lloyd's Register Foundation World Risk Poll, and the ICL/YouGov Data Portal, it's a snapshot of which countries are struggling emotionally and which are doing well in this most testing of years.

"Surprisingly there was not, on average, a decline in well-being when measured by people's own evaluation of their lives," co-author John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia said in a statement. "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."

Nevertheless, the report shows the major differences in how individual countries have responded emotionally to very similar problems. Read on to find out the top 10 happiest countries in the world, which were each ranked on a scale of 0 to 10, and for more rankings close to home, check out The Most Dangerous Small Town in America, According to Data.


Hallstatt, Austria. Mountain village in the Austrian Alps at sunrise. - Image

Happiness score: 7.213

The country dropped one spot since the 2017-2019 report, moving from 9 to 10.

New Zealand

Mt. Cook - Image
Shutterstock/Daniel Huebner

Happiness score: 7.257

The Kiwis also fell a bit since the last World Happiness Report, dropping from 8 to 9.


cruise leaving the port in Norway

Happiness score: 7.290

This Scandinavian country seems to be slipping slightly in terms of happiness, moving from the fifth spot to the eighth.


Scenic summer aerial view of the ancient medieval gothic architecture City Hall building at the Marienplatz Market Square in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

Happiness score: 7.312

The people of Germany seem much happier these days, making a huge shift from 15th to seventh in terms of happiness.


Scenic summer aerial panorama of the Old Town (Gamla Stan) architecture in Stockholm, Sweden - Image
Shutterstock/Oleksiy Mark

Happiness score: 7.314

Swedish people have gotten a little more smiley recently, moving up from the seventh spot to the sixth.


amsterdam netherlands viewed from a boat

Happiness score: 7.504

Like the Swedes, the Dutch are making their way up, moving from sixth happiest worldwide to fifth.


the small town of brienz viewed from brienz lake switzerland

Happiness score: 7.508

Switzerland fell back one spot since the last ranking, from third to fourth, to make room for a new entry in the top 3.


colorful buildings and sailboats on a wharf
Oleksiy Mark/Shutterstock

Happiness score: 7.515

The Danish people also became slightly less happy it seems, losing their runner-up spot and getting the bronze for global happiness.


skogafoss waterfall iceland

Happiness score: 7.575

Iceland made some moves this year, shifting from fourth to second, ahead of its Nordic neighbor and Switzerland.


Northern lights over the Pyhae Luosto National Park in northern Finland.
lightpix / iStock

Happiness score: 7.889

Finland is holding on to the top spot as the happiest country in the world, a position that it has held since 2017. For the full list, which includes the U.S., click here.

And for more on the part of the U.S. that's far from happy, find out The Angriest State in America, According to Data.


John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
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