Portland News

Finnish People Continue to Be ‘Happiest in the World’

Photo: Getty Images

Finland continues to score the highest for the World Happiness Report’s annual rankings.

Moreover, the results of the report remain remarkably steady despite the negative impact of the pandemic around the world.

The report uses a self-report assessment, allowing respondents to evaluate their lives on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the worst possible life they expected to have and ten being the best.

Finland’s neighboring countries, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway, are also in the top ten.

Moreover, the United States had been reportedly happier, moving from the 19th to the 16th spot on the list.

An editor of the report, economist John Helliwell, explained in an interview with Planet Money in 2019 that the two biggest factors in people’s rankings were their income and social support — “somebody to count on in times of trouble,” Helliwell said.

While reports of stress have been higher because of the pandemic, people have also stated they had been generous with their money and time and were more considerate towards strangers.

However, Finland taking the top spot has been criticized by a Finnish writer who expressed in Slate that Scandinavia’s happiness ratings aren’t because of the quality of life in their respective countries, but because of the low standards for happiness.

“Consistent with their Lutheran heritage, the Nordic countries are united in their embrace of curbed aspirations,” wrote Jukka Savolainen. “People are socialized to believe that what they have is as good as it gets — or close enough.”

Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.