Finland tops UN’s World Happiness Report 2018

World Today

Who are the happiest people on the planet?

The 2018 World Happiness Report is out with the answer.

CGTN’s Frances Kuo tells us who tops the list – and why.

Bright smiles are abundant in Finland, what a new report by the United Nations calls the happiest country on Earth.

“Yes, we have many things that make me happy,” Inari Lepisto, a Helsinki resident said.

“Well, our politics and our economics,” resident Sofia Holm said.  “I think we have the basic stuff is quite good in Finland. It makes a great base for why we are doing so good here. So, yeah, we have the perfect circumstances to have a happy life here in Finland.”

Finland outranked 155 nations on criteria like stability, security, GDP per capita and life expectancy.

The Finns also praise the country’s free healthcare and social welfare benefits.  

A strong education system is also among the perks.

It was enough to convince Brianna Owens to move to Finland from the United States which incidentally dropped four places to 18th on the happy list.

“I’ve joked with the other Americans that we are living the American dream here in Finland,” said Owens.  “I think everything in this society is set up for people to be successful, starting with university and transportation that works really well.”

Finnish parents also benefit.  The government mandates four months of paid maternity leave with fathers getting about two months. 

The country also ranked first for contentment among foreign-born residents.

Nordic countries have consistently ranked highest on the happy index.

But some wonder – how can you be content in such cold places?

Some suggest the harsh weather encourages people to stick together and form strong social networks.

It also helps to have an appreciation of winter activities.

“We can play and slide down hills there if we like to. Just like here where we slide down on natural hills,” said one Finn.

“It’s possible to train and do various sports here, during the same week one can ski, run, swim, play football or whatever one can wish for,” explained Henrik Roosenberg.

For the rest of us, maybe all we can wish for is that the Finns’ happiness is contagious.