HELSINKI (AP) — Fans of skiing, saunas and Santa Claus won’t be surprised to hear Finland is the happiest place to live.
The World Happiness Report published Wednesday ranked 156 countries by happiness levels, based on factors such as life expectancy, social support and corruption.
Unlike past years, the annual report published by the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network also evaluated 117 countries by the happiness and well-being of their immigrants.
Europe’s Nordic nations, none particularly diverse, have dominated the index since it first was produced in 2012. In reaching No. 1, Finland nudged neighboring Norway into second place.
Rounding out the Top 10 are Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia. The United States fell to 18th place from 14th last year.
Relatively homogenous Finland has about 300,000 foreigners and residents with foreign roots, out of its 5.5 million people.
Its largest immigrant groups come from other European nations, but there also are communities from Afghanistan, China, Iraq and Somalia.
John Helliwell, a co-editor of the World Happiness Report and professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia, noted all the top-10 nations scored highest in overall happiness and the happiness of immigrants. He said a society’s happiness seems contagious.
- 5 Swiss cities make Europe Top 10 for evidence of cocaine use
- Researchers studied wastewater for traces of drug in 60 cities
Swiss financial centers, shunned by some British hedge fund managers for lacking culture and nightlife, are vying with London in a less celebrated ranking: cocaine consumption.
Zurich and Geneva were placed second and fifth in a survey of 60 European cities ranked by residual traces of cocaine in their wastewater. Moreover, pharmaceutical hub Basel, university town St. Gallen and national capital Bern ensured that Switzerland accounted for half the top 10, research by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction showed.