The world is one of the saddest countries this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but some countries, including Canada, are feeling blue more than others, according to 2021 World Happiness Report from the United Nations.
Finland remained the happiest country in the world, Zimbabwe was at the bottom of the list, and Canada dropped out of the top 10 in the annual World Happiness Index, which is compiled by a panel led by the UN Sustainable Solutions Network each year. The results are based on 2020 data examining income, freedom, trust in government, longevity, social support and generosity.
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Canada ranked 15th on this year’s list, down five points from 2017-2019, according to the report. Canada also formally fell behind the United States after ranking ahead of its southern neighbor for several years. The US was ranked just ahead of Canada in No. 14 on this year’s list.
The result continues a slide for years for Canada, which ranked 10th last year, 9th in 2019 and 7th in 2018.
Meanwhile, Finland was ranked No. 1 for the fourth year in a row, while the Nordic countries dominated the top five. New Zealand was the only non-European nation to destroy the top 10:
- Puffin Island
- New Zeland
We discover year after year that life satisfaction is reported to be the happiest in the social democracies of Northern Europe, Columbia University co-author and economist Jeffrey Sachs told the Associated Press. People feel safe in those places, so trust is high. The government is seen to be trustworthy and honest, and trust in each other is high.
The list was very similar to the lists of previous years, suggesting that COVID-19 did not significantly disrupt the first level of ranking.
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We asked two kinds of questions: One is about life in general, the evaluation of life, we call it. How is your life going? The other has to do with mood, emotions, stress, anxiety, Sachs said. Of course, they were still in the middle of a deep crisis. But the answers regarding long-term life evaluation did not change resolutely, even though the rift in our lives was so profound.
Finnish philosopher Esa Saarinen, who was not included in the report, thinks that the Finnish character itself can help explain why the country continues to lead the index.
“I think the Finns are content enough at some level to be just who we are,” he told the AP. We really should not be more.
The annual survey tries to affect almost every country in the world, but this year’s list was missing about a third of the world’s nations due to pandemic-related issues with conducting surveys and collecting data. The UN Sustainable Solutions Network, which produces the index, also put together a separate list using old data from countries that did not report in 2020. Finland topped that list while Afghanistan ranked last.
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Researchers say the pandemic has damaged people’s mental health, but overall, well-being has remained the same.
Surprisingly there was, on average, no decline in well-being when measured by people themselves’ s assessment of their lives, said British Columbia University co-author and professor John Helliwell in a press release. One possible explanation is that people see COVID-19 as a common, outward threat that affects everyone and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and empathy.
Although COVID-19 did not break the top of the rankings, it seemed to create a movement around the middle, Sachs said. Some Asian countries improved their rankings based on the perception that they handled the pandemic well, he said. China, for example, moved from 94th to 84th on the list.
This has been a difficult period, “said Sachs. “People are going through it when they have been looking for a long time. But there are also many people who suffer in the short term. ”
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He added that the world “urgently” needs to learn from the pandemic, which has brought a strain on many of the other factors that contribute to human happiness.
“The 2021 World Happiness Report reminds us that we should aim for well-being rather than simple wealth, which will be rapid if we do not do a much better job of addressing the challenges of sustainable development,” Sachs said.
With files from The Associated Press
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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