The World Happiness Report 2022 shines a bright light in these hard days of war and disease. According to a group of worldwide experts led by McGill University Professor Christopher Barrington-Leigh, the pandemic resulted in an upsurge in social support and compassion in addition to pain and suffering.
As the globe grapples with the afflictions of sickness and war, the report’s authors argue that it is especially vital to recall the universal yearning for pleasure and the potential of humans to rally to each other’s assistance in times of great need. This year celebrates the tenth anniversary of the World Happiness Report, which uses worldwide survey data to report on how individuals evaluate their own lives in more than 150 countries across the world, with over 9 million people expected to participate by 2021.
“COVID-19 is the biggest health crisis we’ve seen in more than a century,” says Professor John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia. “Now that we have two years of evidence, we are able to assess not just the importance of benevolence and trust, but to see how they have contributed to well-being during the pandemic.”
Helliwell adds “We found during 2021 remarkable worldwide growth in all three acts of kindness monitored in the Gallup World Poll. Helping strangers, volunteering, and donations in 2021 were strongly up in every part of the world, reaching levels almost 25% above their pre-pandemic prevalence. This surge of benevolence, which was especially great for the helping of strangers, provides powerful evidence that people respond to help others in need, creating in the process more happiness for the beneficiaries, good examples for others to follow, and better lives for themselves.”
Finland is the happiest country in the world for the fifth year in a row. This year, its score was much higher than that of the other top 10 countries. Denmark remains in second place, with Iceland moving up from fourth to third place this year. Switzerland comes in fourth place, followed by the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Sweden, Norway, Israel, and New Zealand round out the top 10. Austria, Australia, Ireland, Germany, and Canada are the following five countries in that sequence. This represents a significant drop for Canada, which was ranked fifth 10 years ago.
“The downward trend for Canada is significant and has been going on steadily for years. While Canada once ranked beside the Scandinavian countries, it now ranks closer to the United States in people’s overall evaluation of how good their lives felt,” says Professor Christopher Barrington-Leigh of McGill University.
The rest of the top 20 include the United States at 16th (up from 19th last year), the UK and the Czechia still in 17th and 18th, followed by Belgium at 19th and France at 20th, its highest ranking yet. Overall, the three biggest gains were in Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. The biggest losses were in Lebanon, Venezuela, and Afghanistan.
- New Zealand
“The World Happiness Report is changing the conversation about progress and wellbeing. It provides important snapshots of how people around the world feel about the overall quality of their lives,” says McGill University Professor Christopher Barrington-Leigh. According to the researchers, this information can in turn help countries to craft policies aimed at achieving happier societies.
Past reports have looked at the links between people’s trust in government and institutions with happiness. The findings demonstrate that communities with high levels of trust are happier and more resilient in the face of a wide range of crises.
The World Happiness Report is a publication of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, powered by the Gallup World Poll data.