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World’s second happiest country: Denmark loses out to Finland again

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World’s second happiest country: Denmark loses out to Finland again
Sanna Marin and Mette Frederiksen, here meeting ahead of the 2022 Nordic Council summit, are prime ministers of the world's two happiest countries according to the World Happiness Report. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark is listed at number two on this year’s World Happiness Report, coming second to Finland for the second year in a row.

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The UN’s World Happiness Report, published on Monday, puts Denmark second on its national happiness ranking.

Finland takes the title of world’s happiest nation, once closely associated with Denmark, for the sixth year in a row.

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The Danish second place is the same as its 2022 ranking and one spot better than in 2021. Denmark once took first place regularly, but this has not happened since 2016. Denmark was also second behind Finland in 2019.

“Finland is placed significantly ahead of Denmark in second place,” happiness researcher Ragnhild Bang Nes of the University of Oslo told Norwegian news wire NTB.

Low inequality in Finland, as well as Finnish public confidence in the country’s high level of social welfare security, are possible factors, Nes said.

“And the Finns are perhaps a bit more modest and have lower expectations than us, which means overall that they have established themselves at the top of the list,” the Norwegian researcher said.

Denmark’s international reputation for having a happy population endures, however. A museum about the concept of happiness was opened in Copenhagen in 2020.

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The UN’s World Happiness Report is produced each year by researchers in the US using Gallup poll data.

In addition to longstanding criteria, the report also looks at how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected wellbeing in various countries.

The survey ranks 137 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, using measures for factors like generosity, freedom to make life decisions, social support, perceptions of corruption, good governance, social support, health and GDP per capita. The ratings are based on a three-year average.

Nordic and European countries generally dominate the top end of the ranking.

After Finland and Denmark, Iceland (3), Israel (4) and the Netherlands (5) complete the top five, followed by fellow Nordics Sweden (6), Norway (7) and then Switzerland, Luxembourg and New Zealand.

Lebanon and Afghanistan are rated as the world’s two least happy countries.

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