Top 10 Happiest Countries of the World in 2023
Happiness is subjective, but certain factors contribute to the overall well-being of a nation. The SDSN (United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network) has been ranking the happiest countries based on factors such as social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and levels of corruption for more than a decade. Nordic countries, such as Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, will continue to dominate the list of the happiest countries in the world in 2023.
Professor Richard Layard, co-director of the well-being program at the London School of Economics, stresses the importance of fostering happiness within societies for present and future generations.
Here are the top 10 countries that have seemingly cracked the code to social happiness:
1- Finland 🇫🇮
Finland remains the happiest country in the world for a record sixth time. With a score slightly lower than last year, the country is still well ahead of the competition. Finland now offers a “Masterclass of Happiness” to share its secrets, where professional coaches help participants connect with nature amid the beautiful Kuru Resort in the Lake District. Finns also enjoy an excellent education system, universal health care, and a strong sense of trust in their government institutions.
2- Denmark 🇩🇰
Discover Denmark, the land of all surprises
Denmark consistently ranks near the top, maintaining its second-place position this year. This nation proves that high taxes and happiness can co-exist. Although Danes pay the highest personal income tax in Europe (nearly 56%), they enjoy a comprehensive welfare system that includes free education, healthcare and a strong focus on work-life balance. The concept of hygge, or creating a warm and comfortable atmosphere, is integral to Danish culture and contributes to their general well-being.
3- Iceland 🇮🇸
Iceland is known for its stunning scenery, but it is also one of the happiest and safest countries in the world. With high incomes, a stable economy, low levels of corruption, generosity, free education, and a strong community spirit, Icelanders enjoy a high quality of life. The country’s commitment to gender equality, sustainability, and renewable energy adds to the happiness and satisfaction of its citizens.
4- Israel 🇮🇱
Israel surprisingly climbs 5th place in the rankings.
Climbing from 5th place to fourth place this year. Israel’s highest ranking since the report’s inception is attributed to its rapid post-COVID recovery. According to OECD data, but also thanks to its strong social ties and high life expectancy. The country also has a strong startup scene. A flourishing cultural diversity and a deep sense of national pride contribute to the general happiness of its citizens.
5- Netherlands 🇳🇱
The Netherlands remains a very happy country
The Netherlands retains its fifth place. A resilient economy, affordable higher education, an excellent labor market, strong community ties, and high civic engagement contribute to the happiness of its citizens. The country is also known for its environmentally friendly policies. Its vast cycling infrastructure and its famous tulip fields which delight locals and tourists.
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6- Sweden 🇸🇪
Sweden moved up one place this year
Sweden moved up a spot this year, despite having a higher COVID-19 death rate than its Nordic neighbors. The country enjoys low levels of air and environmental pollution, high employment rates, and gender equality of over 80%, which improves life satisfaction. In addition, Sweden’s commitment to social protection, progressive parental leave policies, and a focus on environmental sustainability contribute to the well-being of its citizens.
7- Norway 🇳🇴
Norway is heartbreaking.
Norway consistently ranks among the happiest countries due to its free education, high-income levels, low corruption, and strong social support network. The country’s natural beauty, with its fjords, mountains, forests, lakes, and frequent sightings of the Northern Lights, provides residents with plenty of opportunities to relax and rejuvenate. Norwegians also enjoy a high standard of living, with a strong emphasis on work-life balance and outdoor activities.
8- Switzerland 🇨🇭
The Swiss Paradise
Despite a drop of 4 numbers compared to last year, Switzerland remains home to some of the happiest and healthiest citizens in the world—a low crime rate. A high GDP per capita and stunning mountain scenery provide the perfect backdrop for year-round recreation—the Swiss value prosocial behavior. Like volunteering and charitable giving, they contribute to overall life satisfaction. The country’s strong education system, excellent health care, and tradition of political neutrality also contribute to Swiss happiness.
9- Luxemburg 🇱🇺
The small country of Luxembourg
Although it fell from sixth to ninth place, Luxembourg remains among the 10 happiest countries. This small European nation is one of the richest in terms of GDP per capita. And its safety, high public trust, and diverse population contribute to the happiness of its citizens. The strategic location of Luxembourg in the heart of Europe. Its thriving financial sector and commitment to preserving its rich cultural heritage further enhance the well-being of its residents.
10- New Zealand 🇳🇿
New Zealand and its crazy landscapes
Retaining tenth place, New Zealand made a strong post-COVID recovery. This country has beautiful beaches, lakes and vineyards. The country also outperforms other OECD countries in many aspects of well-being, including education, health, and civic engagement. New Zealand’s commitment to environmental preservation, the influence of Maori culture on daily life, and a strong sense of community all contribute to the overall happiness of its citizens.
Conclusion on the 10 Happiest Countries in the World
These top 10 countries demonstrate that a combination of factors, including a strong social support system, high-income levels, low corruption, access to quality education and health care, and the presence of natural beauty, contribute to the general happiness of a nation.
However, each country has its unique attributes. They all share a commitment to fostering the happiness of their citizens, present and future generations.
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