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This country has just been named the happiest in the world

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(CNN) – To say that last year has been difficult for people around the world is an understatement.

The Covid-19 pandemic has not only caused the deaths of more than 2.6 million people worldwide, but has also caused a massive shake-up in daily life for many of us.

But despite the devastating events of the past twelve months and the consequent decline in mental health in various destinations, there has been no change in the first place when it comes to ranking the happiest country in the world.

For the fourth consecutive year, Finland has occupied the first position in the annual list driven by data from the Gallup global survey, with Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands in second, third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

While the United States moved from 18th to 14th place and the United Kingdom fell from 13th to 18th, Australia maintained its 12th position.

“We urgently need to learn from Covid-19,” said the report’s co-editor, Jeffrey Sachs, a professor and director of Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development.

“The pandemic reminds us of our global environmental threats, the urgent need to cooperate and the difficulties in achieving cooperation in each country and globally.”

Movers and shakers

A participant bathes in the waters of an ice-covered lake in southwest Iceland during a seminar on February 1, 2020 in Kleyfarvatn, near Reykjavik.

Iceland was named the second happiest country in the world.

HALLDOR KOLBEINS / AFP via Getty Images

Not only were the researchers unable to complete face-to-face interviews in several countries, but they also had to change things by focusing on the relationship between well-being and Covid-19.

The report is based primarily on GDP levels, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and revenue from corruption since it was launched in 2012.

While there have been some changes in the top ten, with Iceland rising two places from fourth to second on the list and Norway falling from fifth to eighth, the ranking was surprisingly similar to the previous year. for the most part, which is seen as a positive sign.

“Surprisingly, there was, on average, no decline in well-being as measured by the self-assessment of their lives,” said British Columbia University professor John Helliwell, who also contributed to the report.

“One possible explanation is that people see Covid-19 as a common external threat that affects everyone and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and a sense of resemblance.”

Other notable moves on the list are Germany, which has moved from 17th to seventh place in the last year.

Croatia, which was one of the destinations where face-to-face interviews could be conducted, went from number 79 to 23 on the list.

Confidence factor

The Scandinavian country, Norway, ranked eighth, just above New Zealand.

The Scandinavian country, Norway, came in eighth place, just above New Zealand.

Shutterstock

Researchers say it is not surprising that Finland has held the top spot once again, as the Nordic country has always been highly ranked in terms of mutual trust.

Trust is recognized as one of the main factors that helped protect people during the pandemic, as well as trust in governments.

For example, Brazil’s mortality rate was significantly higher than Singapore’s, a fact that the report partially reduced the public confidence gap in each country’s governments.

He also notes that the Americas and Europe had much higher Covid-19 fatalities than East Asia, Australasia and Africa.

The report suggests that the average age of a country’s population, whether an island, and its proximity to other highly infected countries contributed to the disparity in global mortality rates.

Interestingly, cultural differences, such as whether the head of government was a woman, are also noted as significant considerations when measuring the success of Covid-19 strategies, along with income inequality and knowledge gained from previous epidemics.

“The East Asian experience shows that strict government policies not only control Covid-19 effectively, but also cushion the negative impact of daily infections on people’s happiness,” the professor said. collaborator of the report, Shun Wang, of the Korea Development Institute.

While successful vaccine deployment in several countries they have provided much-needed impetus to many, blockages, social distancing, facial coverage, and travel restrictions are all part of living with the virus, and that doesn’t even take into account the economic implications.

Covid impact on well-being

A couple lies on the grass in the garden of Schoenbrunn Palace in front of the Gloritte in Vienna, Austria, on April 26, 2020,

Austria completed the top 10 countries ranked as the happiest in the world.

ALEX HALADA / AFP via Getty Images

As a result, the report found that the decline in mental health was immediate in many countries, including the United Kingdom, where the number of reported mental health problems was 47% higher than in May 2020 than previously forecast. of the Covid-19.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the World Happiness Report 2021 also found that blockages and social distancing greatly affected the well-being of the workforce.

According to the data collected, those who were unable to work through guilt or redundancy who said they were alone at the start of the pandemic became 43% less happy than those who did not feel alone at first.

“My previous research showed that happy workers are 13% more productive,” said Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, director of the Wellbeing Research Center at Oxford University, another contributor to the report.

“This paper shows that happiness is not driven by salary and that social connections and a sense of identity are more important.

“These findings point to a ‘hybrid’ work future, with a balance between office life and work from home to maintain social connections and ensure worker flexibility.”

Of the 149 countries listed in the report, Afghanistan was again the most dissatisfied, followed by Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Botswana.

Those at the bottom of the list were mainly underdeveloped countries where issues such as political and armed conflict have prevailed in recent times.

“This has been a very difficult year, but the first data also show some notable signs of resistance in feelings of social connection and in life assessments,” says the report’s collaborating professor, Lara Aknin, of Simon Fraser University.

The happiest countries in the world 2021

1. Finland

2. Iceland

3. Denmark

4. Switzerland

5. Netherlands

6. Sweden

7. Germany

8. Norway

9. New Zealand

10. Austria

11. Israel

12. Australia

13. Ireland

14. United States

15. Canada

16. Czech Republic

17. Belgium

18. United Kingdom

19. China

20. France

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