Finland has for the fourth consecutive year been ranked the world's happiest country, a United Nations report said on Friday, roughly a year after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic.
The researchers said this was "no surprise," citing that Finland has "always ranked very high on the measures of mutual trust that have helped to protect lives and livelihoods during the pandemic."
Finland was one of 23 surveyed countries that had a female head of government. They "have tended to favour making policy with overall well-being as the objective, and this makes suppressing community transmission an even more obvious choice for them."
The World Happiness Report is based on three years of Gallup surveys of how happy citizens perceive themselves to be.
Globally, the pandemic caused 2 million deaths from Covid-19 in 2020, a nearly 4% rise in the yearly number of deaths. The report also cited economic and mental tolls.
"The pandemic reminds us of our global environmental threats, the urgent need to cooperate, and the difficulties of achieving cooperation in each country and globally," said co-editor Jeffrey D Sachs of Columbia University's Center for Sustainable Development.
Factors for the assessment
Factors used for the assessment include gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, freedom, and perceived corruption in government and business.
Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, and New Zealand were also among the top 10.
The United States ranked 20th, Russia 77th, China 85th, and India 140th.
Trailing the 149-strong list were Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and Afghanistan.
The report, commissioned by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, was released in conjunction with the World Happiness Day.