The World Happiness Report ranks Finland as the happiest country in the world for the second straight year and is just one of five Nordic nations that make up the top ten on that list.
The other Nordic nations are Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Iceland.
The report ranks 156 countries based on happiness levels, measured by factors like life expectancy, social support, and corruption.
The UK edged up to 15th, from 19th last year, while the US replaced the UK at 19th place, its lowest ranking ever. South Sudan was at the bottom of the happiness index.
Based on the index, it seems that America has been getting less happy every year even as it became richer. The US has fallen from 14th place in two years.
For the second year now, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network evaluated 117 countries by the happiness and well-being of their immigrants.
Ever since the index first came out in 2012, Nordic nations have dominated the list although none of them are particularly diverse.
Out of its population of 5.5 million people, Finland, which is relatively homogeneous, has roughly 300,000 foreigners and residents with foreign roots. Most of its immigrants come from other European nations but communities from Afghanistan, China, Iraq, and Somalia also exist.
Meik Wiking, CEO of the Copenhagen-based Happiness Research Institute, said the five Nordic countries that consistently rank high in the index “are doing something right in terms of creating good conditions for good lives,” which newcomers instantly noticed.
He added that the happiness reflected in the survey comes from healthy amounts of personal freedom and social security that more than make up for paying “some of the highest taxes in the world.”
“Briefly put, (Nordic countries) are good at converting wealth into well-being,” Wiking said. The happiness of immigrants “shows the conditions that we live under matter greatly to our quality of life, that happiness is not only a matter of choice.”
The US, in the meantime, has never made it to the top ten of the list, ranking 11th when the list first came out.
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, cited several factors for this.
He said: “The long-term rise in U.S. income per person has been accompanied by several trends adverse to subjective well-being (SWB): worsening health conditions for much of the population; declining social trust; and declining confidence in government.
“Whatever benefits in SWB might have accrued as the result of rising incomes seem to have been offset by these adverse trends… [It’s] apparently due in part to the astoundingly large amount of time that young people are spending on digital media: smartphones, video games, computers, and the like.
“The prevalence of addictions in American society seems to be on the rise, perhaps dramatically… They include gambling; social media use, video gaming, shopping, consuming unhealthy foods.
“These addictions, in turn, seem to be causing considerable unhappiness and even depression.”
Recommended Video – “Logic Brought Dozens Of Immigrant Families Wearing ‘We Are All Human Beings’ Shirts On Stage At MTV VMAs”