To pave the way for the International Day of Happiness, the 2018 World Happiness Report was released yesterday. Here at Positive Routines, we waited (im)patiently for top rankings and insights from perhaps the most positive news to hit the media since…last year’s happiness report.
Dying to know what the happiest country is? Where does the US fall in all of this? Is there hope among the dumpster fire that 2018 is turning into? In short, yes. Let’s take a look.
5 Interesting Insights from the World Happiness Report 2018
Here are our picks for the top five findings from the World Happiness Report this year.
1. The happiest country in 2018 is…
Finland. The Scandinavian countries usually take top spots—Norway brought the prize home in 2017 and Finland and Denmark typically rank high as well. This year followed the same pattern: Finland edged out its Scandinavian sisters, but Norway, Denmark, and Iceland rounded out the top four.
In case you’re just here for country rankings (we see you, but we’ll allow it), here are the top 10:
- Canada (Editor’s note: Please help your North American neighbors figure this out.)
- New Zealand
Notice any glaring gaps here? That’s right—the US. More on that later.
2. The happiest countries value well-being
According to the report, the most highly ranking countries all value proven well-being boosters—things like building and maintaining strong social support networks, providing their citizens with freedom and resources, and giving to their communities and those in need.
3. Here’s what’s happening with happiness in the US
The bad news: US happiness levels = decreasing. The US fell from spot 14 in 2017 to spot 18 in 2018.
The good news: Most of us knew that already. Read a headline from any major news source and tell us how happy you feel.
But there is hope. We all know that we have some control over our happiness (about 40 percent, says our happiness go-to, Sonja Lyubomirsky). So even if the state of affairs is bumming us out, we can still control how we react to it—by showing gratitude, leaning on our friendships, giving back to the communities we love and live in, and so much more.
4. Immigrants’ happiness levels give us hope
This year, the report looked at issues relating to migration. It found that the rankings of the countries with the happiest immigrants were almost exactly the same as the rankings of countries with the happiest overall population. You know what that means? Happiness levels can shift according to our surroundings.
According to the report, “Happiness can change, and does change, according to the quality of the society in which people live.”
What’s more? Attitudes matter. Countries with more accepting attitudes toward immigrants had happier immigrant populations and happier native-born populations. So all of our happiness improves when our arms are open. Noted.
5. Relationships matter to happiness: What Latin America teaches us
All other factors considered, the countries in Latin America have higher levels of happiness than expected. So what are they doing that we’re not?
Valuing their relationships to their friends and families. We know that’s a science-backed way to get happier. And apparently, so does all of Latin America. Their social relationships are extremely important to them—so much so that they affect their population-level happiness, even in times of economic and political unrest.
Want more happy insights? Here’s where you can read the report in its entirety.
Your turn: Any big surprises from the World Happiness Report 2018? Tell us more in the comments.
If you like this article you’ll also like How to Increase Happiness with Science-Backed Strategies
Author: Chelsey Taylor
Chelsey likes words, especially adjectives, and has been perfecting her perfectionism since infancy. She’s an endorphin-gatherer, top-knot connoisseur, and content manager at Panda Planner.