The latest World Happiness Report was recently released, and while there’s good news for places like Finland (which ranked at the top of the list for the second year in a row), it’s a sad state of affairs for the United States. Not only did the U.S. rank number 19, happiness is on the decline in America.
“The years since 2010 have not been good ones for happiness and well-being among Americans,” read the report. “Even as the United States economy improved after the end of the Great Recession in 2009, happiness among adults did not rebound to the higher levels of the 1990s, continuing a slow decline ongoing since at least 2000.”
The U.S. dropped one spot since last year and five spots since 2017, and it also fared poorly in other areas: 61st for freedom, 42nd for corruption and 37th for social support. The only good news: The U.S. ranked 10th for income.
The World Happiness Report is an annual survey by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations. It looks at the state of global happiness in 156 countries, ranking countries based on six variables: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. The World Happiness Report was originally launched in 2012, and each year, it has a slightly different focus. This year’s report looked at happiness and the community, evaluating how technology, social norms, conflicts and government policies are driving change.
The top-ranking countries on the list tend to be consistent from year to year. In 2019, the top five included Finland at number one for the second year in a row, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands. Among the top 10 countries, the only change of note year over year is that Austria replaced Australia in the 10th spot.
Besides the happiest countries, the World Happiness Report also looked at the places where people are the saddest. South Sudan was named the unhappiest place in the world, followed by Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Tanzania and Rwanda.
So where did other world powers rank on the list? The United Kingdom was number 15, Germany was 17, Japan was 58, Russia was 68 and China was 93.
Read on for the top 10 happiest countries in the world, as well as the 10 saddest places.
World’s 10 Happiest Countries
- New Zealand
World’s Saddest Countries
- South Sudan
- Central African Republic