The 2022 edition of the World Happiness Report marks it’s 10th anniversary. This latest edition of the report reflects the last decade of progress in happiness research, takes a current look at world happiness in its current standing and considers to where the future of the research could be heading.
For the fifth year in a row, Finland remains at the top of the ranking of world happiness, and Denmark remains at number two, while all five of the Nordic countries remain amongst the top eight countries. As CEO of the Happiness Research Institute Meik Wiking remarks:
“Looking back on a decade of the World Happiness Report, it is clear from the prevalence of the Nordic countries’ position at the top of the ranking, the Nordic model continues to create good conditions for good lives.”
Interest in happiness is on the rise
Since the publication of the first World Happiness Report, happiness has been increasingly in focus. The 2022 report notes that since 2013, a narrative change is taking place – one which values happiness as integral to a good life. Across social and public discourse: in books, academic research, and government policy initiatives, the prominence of happiness as an indicator of progress both is on the rise, and to that end, has surpassed GDP and economic growth, which are on the decline. In both documenting and contributing to this growing interest in happiness, the World Happiness Report has and will continue to play an essential role in achieving happier societies.
Global resilience 3 years in
On average, life evaluations have remained mostly constant during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it is important to note that this an average that may contain large individual differences. For some, the pandemic may have met needs that had been neglected for years, for others, the pandemic has caused vast difficulties. Yet, on a global level, we have not only shown resilience in how we feel about our lives, we have also increased our capacity for social support and benevolence. Our ability to stand together in solidarity takes precedence as we continue to live through times of great suffering.
A stark reminder
The last decade has also borne witness to conflict and warfare globally. The countries suffering from conflict and extreme poverty are found at the very bottom of the world ranking. The crises in Afghanistan, Venezuela, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, amongst many others, demonstrate the profoundly important effect that our social conditions have on our wellbeing, and above all necessitate the fundamental role of peace and stability for human wellbeing. The current crisis in Ukraine may very well turn out to have a significant negative impact on happiness levels.
“Conflict and insecurity immensely challenge wellbeing and quality of life”, says Meik Wiking. At this point, it is too soon say how the war in Ukraine affects happiness levels, but given that war torn countries are always the least happy, there is no doubt that the effect of this serious and devastation crisis will be significant and possibly long term".