The Happiness Report declared Finland the happiest country on Earth.
Over the past decade, the Nordic countries: Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, have ranked in the top ten.
Finland has been ranked the happiest country for the fifth year in a row.
Finland has strong social safety net
Why the top ranking? Happiness expert and researcher, Frank Martela credited Finland’s social safety net:
Nordic countries tend to be countries where there are [good] unemployment benefits, pensions and other benefits.Frank Martela as quoted by Hareem Khan, SBS “Why Finland has been voted the happiest country in the world for the fifth year running, 25 October 2022
Finland is often lauded for its education system. In 2018, The World Economic Forum gave the following reasons:
- There is no standardised testing. There are voluntary tests when a student enters their senior year
- Egalitarian education that focuses on the basics
- Students are given more post- high school options. Senior students can study for three years in order to take the Matriculation Test, which gets them ready for University. There are also trade school options.
- Students start school later, usually between 9 – 9.45am
- Students often have the same teachers, sometimes for six years.
The Finnish education system seems far superior to the Australian, US and British systems. Maybe we can learn something from them (no pun intended).
The irony: happiest place on Earth… yet melancholic?
The irony about Finland being ranked the happiest country on Earth is that Finnish culture is seen as melancholic. In fact, Finns aren’t happy with the label of happiest country in the world.
Compared to the US, Finns don’t make a habit of expressing emotions, either happy or sad.
Finnish ballerina, Minna Tervamäki has described Finns as “content”, rather than happy.
Finland vs US, UK and Australia
From what I can gather, I think there is a contrast in how Finns view happiness than what Australians, Brits and Americans do.
Finns are quite stoic, rather than emotive. They are less likely to outwardly express feelings like sadness and anger.
Similarly, Finns don’t necessarily express happiness outwardly. either. They don’t smile at strangers, like someone in Australia or the US might.
Egalitarianism is more important than endless wealth
Finland is very egalitarian. In contrast, other Western countries are very competition – focused. Also, happiness and well – being does not mean endless toxic positivity. Sometimes melancholy is OK. Some reservation is OK.
‘Happiest country’ means best welfare of citizens
How is the happiness of a country determined? Since 2002, the World Happiness Report has published data and ranks 149 countries by comparing them to a fictional Dystopia.
There are six performance categories that are measured:
- Gross domestic oroduct (GDP) per capita
- Social support
- The citizens’ freedom to make personal choices
- Generosity and
- Perceptions of internal and external corruption
‘Happiness’ is determined by the overall welfare of its citizens. It’s not based on the West’s idea of what ‘happiness’ is.
Do you believe that Finland is the happiest country on Earth? Feel free to leave any opinions or insights in the comments below.