HELSINKI: Finland remained the world’s happiest country for a seventh straight year in an annual UN sponsored World Happiness Report published on Wednesday.

And Nordic countries kept their places among the 10 most cheerful, with Denmark, Iceland and Sweden trailing Finland.

Afghanistan, plagued by a humanitarian catastrophe since the Taliban regained control in 2020, stayed at the bottom of the 143 countries surveyed.

For the first time since the report was published more than a decade ago, the United States and Germany were not among the 20 happiest nations, coming in 23rd and 24th respectively. In turn, Costa Rica and Kuwait entered the top 20 at 12 and 13.

The report noted the happiest countries no longer included any of the world’s largest countries.

“In the top 10 countries only the Netherlands and Australia have populations over 15 million. In the whole of the top 20, only Canada and the UK have populations over 30 million.”

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2024

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