Australia has been named the 12th happiest country in the world according to the 10th annual World Happiness Report.
The report leverages six key factors to explain variation in self-reported levels of happiness across the world: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.
Governments are increasingly using this analysis to orient policies towards happiness.
“The ultimate goal of politics and ethics should be human well-being,” one of the authors of the report, Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs said.
“The happiness movement shows that well-being is not a ‘soft’ and ‘vague’ idea but rather focuses on areas of life of critical importance: material conditions, mental and physical wealth, personal virtues, and good citizenship.”
“We need to turn this wisdom into practical results to achieve more peace, prosperity, trust, civility – and yes, happiness – in our societies.”
Finland remains in the top position for the sixth year in a row.
The report said Finland’s citizens had strong feelings of communal support and mutual trust during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Additionally, Finlanders felt strongly that they were free to make their own choices, and showed minimal suspicion of government corruption. Both of these factors are strong contributors to overall happiness,” the report said.
The top 10 countries are ordered:
- New Zealand
Australia came in 12th.
Lithuania is the only new country in the top 20, up more than 30 places since 2017.
War-torn Afghanistan and Lebanon remain the two unhappiest countries in the survey, with average life evaluations more than five points lower (on a scale running from 0 to 10) than in the 10 happiest countries.