The year of 2020 indeed has been challenging for many because of the pandemic. With the economy falling into a depression in most places, and extended lock-down that limited our social interactions, we can’t help but wonder about the effect that Covid-19 has on our mental health and general happiness. Recently, the 2021 World Happiness Report has just been released, indicating which countries’ citizens are the most content. While other countries went down, some remained at the top, with Canada at the 15th place among the happiest countries in the world.
What is the World Happiness Report?
Each year, researchers from the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network measure the happiness index of each country, according to six standards. They are GDP per capita, freedom, trust in government and other people, social support, generosity, and healthy life expectancy. Unsurprisingly this year, the report has been centered around the effects of Covid-19 on people’s physical and mental health.
It is notable that during the pandemic, limitations have made the data collection process more difficult, and therefore some countries are evaluated based on estimation rather than the usual survey and collections.
A closer look a the top 10 happiest countries in the world
Despite an ongoing pandemic, the top spots didn’t shuffle much, with Finland keeping the 1st place four years in a row.
The Nordic country is considered to have handled the pandemic more effectively than others, gaining more trust and support from its citizens. Despite the long winter, the people here are very happy with the high living standards, vibrant culture, and wonderful natural landscape.
The rest of the top 10 is as follow:
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
The links between the ability to handle the pandemic and faith in authority and other people, a vital happiness component, explain why these countries can remain at the uppermost places in the chart.
The countries already had a high level of trust among the citizens, and this factor plays a crucial role in containing the coronavirus effectively, according to researchers. Therefore, when the crisis happened, the solid trust helped them keep the death rate low, strengthen unity throughout the country, and make their citizens happy.
“We find year after year that life satisfaction is reported to be happiest in the social democracies of northern Europe,” Jeffrey Sachs, the co-author and Columbia University economist, shared with Associated Press.
There are some adjustments to the rankings in the middle of the chart. Many Asian countries advanced in the happiness index due to their ability to keep Covid-19 under control. For instance, China moved from 96th to 52th this year, and Japan from 50th to 40th.
Canada placed 15th, slightly lower than in the last few years
While Canada’s happiness index has decreased in the last few years, (from 10th in 2017-2019 to 15th in 2020), it is still one of the happiest countries in the world. The country’s GDP per capita is estimated to be about $43,278, with a growth rate of 5.18%. According to Our World in Data, life expectancy of Canada is about 82.4 years, a little higher than Finland in the first place at 81.9 years.
People are looking forward to a brighter future with vaccinations rolling out on a daily basis. Whether the world by 2022 is a happier place for everyone and how that reflects on the 2022 World Happiness Report remains closely-followed questions.
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