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Lifestyle

Icelanders fourth happiest people in the world: Drop one spot as Finland takes lead

By Staff

  • Enjoying life High quality of life, health and happiness are closely related. Photo/Fréttablaðið

Icelanders are the fourth happiest people in the world, according to the 2018 Happiness Report (PDF). Iceland drops one spot on the list since 2017. Finland jumps from fifth spot to the top spot, ranking as the happiest nation in the world. Four of the top five happiest nations in the world are in the Nordic countries.

Nordic nations happiest
The five happiest nations in the world are Finland in the top spot, followed by Norway, then Denmark and Iceland. The Swiss come in fifth. The same five nations occupied the top five spots last year, and in the same order, except Finland ranked fifth in 2017, but first in 2018. Sweden, the fifth Nordic nation, comes in as the ninth happiest nation in the world. The report notes that differences are small enough among the top countries that that year-to-year changes in the rankings are to be expected. 

Read more: Iceland has the second highest quality of life among OECD countries

The 2018 World Happiness Report also ranks the happiness of foreign born people, finding that the foreign born population of Iceland is also the fourth happiest in the world. Finland, Denmark and Norway occupy the top three spots. The report also notes that Iceland is most accepting of migrants, followed by New Zealand. The level of acceptance of migrants is linked to their evaluation of their life, and a major determinant of their happiness.

Happiness rests on high living standards, good societies
All the top countries tend to have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity. The report notes that the happiness of immigrants and foreign born populations tend to be the same as the level of happiness among the native born population:

"Perhaps the most striking finding of the whole report is that a ranking of countries according to the happiness of their immigrant populations is almost exactly the same as for the rest of the population."

This suggests that societies where all people, whether native or foreign born, enjoy good health and high living standards are happy, and that a happy society is a society where everyone is happy, not just one privileged group.

The World Happiness Report 2018, ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants. The overall rankings of country happiness are based on the pooled results from Gallup World Poll surveys from 2015-2017.

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