2018’s list of the happiest countries right down to the not very happy at all countries has been released. As many of you have correctly guessed, the Central African Republic did not make the top 5. This initiative was kicked off in 2012 and submitted the year before by the country that came 97th on the list – Bhutan. If this proves anything, it’s that just because you invented something, doesn’t mean you’re the best at it. Jokes aside, Bhutan came up with the concept of measuring the happiness of its citizens and its prime minister proposed a World Happiness Day to the UN in 2011. A year later the UN had set aside March 20 as World Happiness Day.
How is Happiness Measured?
Fast-forward to 2018 and we have the pleasure of perusing the latest list. Before we go any further, I’d like to alleviate any fears of this being a long and dreary read. In fact, I’ll touch on the top 10, no wait, even better, the top 5! In total 156 countries were surveyed, so I think focusing on the best ones only is the way forward; this is after all a gambler’s blog. Finally, it’s important to know that the metrics for ascertaining a country’s happiness are measured by things like life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, corruption and GDP. Those last two categories literally wiped South Africa out of the competition.
The Top 5!
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And now back to the article.
At number 5 we have Switzerland, a country that shouldn’t just be lauded for its chocolate making skills. Switzerland actually fell from spot number one in 2015 to position number five (apparently their officials just weren’t going to pay bribes this year) but they still have very valid reasons to be smug. Life expectancy is high, education is top notch with most citizens understanding English, French and German and the landscapes are lovely. Throw in great infrastructure, good public health and more, and you have a solid 5.
Coming in at number 4 we have Iceland, a land so scenic and so beautiful that when the Vikings landed there eons ago they called it Iceland to make it sound unappealing. They then proceeded to call their icy neighbours to the north Greenland. But what’s not to like? Low income tax, free higher education and healthcare are just some of the perks. Rated as the most peaceful nation in the world with endorsements from key figures like Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan and Don Johnson, it’s not hard to see why Iceland has made it to number 4.
At number 3 is Denmark. Now I know that you’re thinking: how can you build an entire economy from Lego? But the truth of the matter is that Denmark makes industrial machinery, furniture, pharmaceuticals and canned ham, and that’s not all! Good life expectancy, free health care, a good welfare system (the type junkies dream of) and one of the smallest wealth gaps in the world makes Denmark a strong 3.
Number 2 belongs to Norway. That’s right boys and girls, last year’s number one ranks pretty high in terms of gender equality (Trump will feel right at home) and social capital. That aside, Norway is simply one of the most beautiful countries on earth. Its Fjords, midnight sun and mountains have come to define it.
And now for the world’s happiest country as paid for by, no wait, that was Cape Town in its submission of Table Mountain as a natural wonder. At number one we have Finland! Beating its Scandy neighbour Norway for pole position was no easy task, but Finland has prevailed thanks to having the highest quality of life, the lowest medical threats and an almost equal amount of happiness for immigrants and locals. And these aren’t just Europeans who have made their way there. People from Afghanistan, China, Iraq and Somalia have all parachuted their way into Finland.
Honourable Mention – Canada!
You Canadians should be proud because you managed to make it into the top 10, beating Australia, a country known mainly for Paul Hogan and gambling. At a respectable number 7 you lot in Canada really can hold your heads high. Justin Trudeau is a lot more than just a pretty face, you’ve got great life expectancy, sports and brands that you can be proud of and your country’s natural beauty is up there with the best in the world. Here’s to you, Canada.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my at times amusing take on 2018’s happiest countries in the world. If you want more of the same, you now know where to find it.