Israelis remained among the happiest in the world, but dropped two positions to the 13th happiest country in an annual UN index of the happiest nations, after being overtaken by Austria and Costa Rica. Among the countries ranked less happy than Israel were Britain, Germany and the United States.
Finland topped the index of the happiest nations for the second consecutive year, with researchers saying in a report published Wednesday the small Nordic country has succeeded in generating a happiness recipe not simply dependent on economic wealth.
The World Happiness Report, produced by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens see themselves to be. It’s based on factors including economic wealth, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices.
The index showed the other Nordic countries did well, with Denmark, Norway and Iceland taking the next spots. Israel had been holding stable in 11th place for several years prior to the new ranking.
The United States dropped from 18th to 19th place.
Happiness has declined the most drastically in the past ten years in the 108th-placed Venezuela, currently in political crisis.
Beginning in 2012, surveys conducted annually by the Gallup company in more than 140 countries asked people about how their lives are going. The data is then compiled by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network into the World Happiness Report, which attempts to explain what it is that makes people happy.
The 2019 report is the organization’s seventh. The new report focuses on how happiness has been changing over the past decade, and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities.