Top 10 Happiest Countries in the World 2021

The World Happiness Report (WHR) of 2020 gives a brief description of all the countries’ happiness levels in the world. The report is an annual publication of the UN’s sustainable development solutions network, which contains data according to various national happiness perspectives and their ranking based on the analysis of people’s well-being and living standards.

The most important finding of the whole report is that countries’ ranking according to their immigrants’ happiness is almost the same as that of the rest of the population. Here the list of the ten happiest countries in the world.

10 Luxembourg, Happiness Index: 7.238

Old Town Luxembourg City from top view by day.

Luxembourg’s people enjoy a high quality of life. This country provides a land of castles, lakes, and rolling hills. You know it is the 20th happiest country, just four years ago. It has the highest GDP per capita. Here workers can get an average gross salary of about 5,000 euros per month.

It has an excellent work-life balance. The average salary paid vacation days and working hours put Luxembourg on top of a list dominated by European cities. Besides, it’s mostly rural and famed for its dense Ardennes forest and nature parks. Moreover, formal Luxembourgers are relatively quiet and but once we establish a relationship, we will feel more comfortable with them.

9 Austria, Happiness Index: 7.294

Austria, city of Vienna, Landstrasse, cityscape with St. Othmar’s Catholic Church.

Austria made better scores in life expectancy and GDP per capita in this 2020 survey. Rising one spot from last year, it reached the ninth position in the top 10 happiest countries. Additionally, it offers low unemployment and inequality rates. This country is well known for its world-class architecture, dreamy landscapes with pristine lakes and rolling hills.

Austria provides a very comprehensive public healthcare system and a free and public school system. They told Austrians to take nine mandatory years of education. With a population of 8.795 million in 2017, Austria had one of the lowest intentional homicide rates. Moreover, Austrians’ strong sense of community and civic duty makes them leading excellent quality of life.

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8 New Zealand, Happiness Index: 7.300

New Zealand
Elevated view of city buildings and harbor seen on a clear summer’s morning as viewed from Mount Victoria. Wellington is the capital of NZ.

Image credit: Wirestock/Depositphotos

New Zealand maintains its eighth spot on this list. It beats its neighbor Australia, which didn’t even make the top 10 happiest countries in the 2019 survey. New Zealand provides better health, freedom, income, and honesty. Additionally, New Zealand offers comprehensive and high-quality health care that is mostly publicly funded.

Its resilience and social connection make this country one of the happiest countries. Moreover, social support was among the main factors for Kiwis ranking so high in this survey. Besides, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the New Zealand government would introduce the first “Well-being Budget” in history. The budget aimed to tackle “climate change, social exclusion, poor health, digital transformation, housing, and domestic violence.”

7 Sweden, Happiness Index: 7.353

Scenic summer aerial panorama of the Old Town (Gamla Stan) in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sweden holds on to the seventh position in the ranking after climbing two spots in 2018. What’s the Secret? Swedes have the perfect work-life balance and spend more time with nature. Sweden provides excellent healthcare services. Besides, its college education, as well as Health care, are free. Swedes boast the world’s one of the longest life expectancies.

Moreover, Swedes are some of the most generous people on the earth; they donate around one percent of their gross national product to humanitarian aid programs every year. No other country on the planet provides the most extended paid vacation period of 25 days. Additionally, taxes are high in this country, where the personal income tax rate that Swedes pay is above 60%.

6 Netherlands, Happiness Index: 7.449

Traditional old buildings in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The Netherlands also continues to be the world’s one of happiest places. It is the sixth happiest country, slipping one place in the new World Happiness Report 2019. Why are Dutch people such a Happiest? The Netherlands provides excellent education prospects and quality of life. Besides, Netherland has better healthcare services and social benefits.

According to many metrics related to safety, educational well-being, and health, Dutch children are the world’s happiest. Moreover, its sustained happiness is the result of a high perceived level of stability and democracy.  Besides, an extensive and sophisticated series of dams, floodgates, walls, dikes, drainage ditches, canals, and pumping stations protected this country from flooding and storm surges.

5 Norway, Happiness Index: 7.488

Stavanger, Norway city view with harbor and colorful traditional wooden houses.

Image credit: Kisa_Markiza/Depositphotos

We can find that the five Nordic countries other than Norway rank high, but Norway drops from third to fifth. But what exactly does Norway do differently that makes Norwegians so happy? It provides a great education system, an abundance of generosity, high life expectancy, economic growth, social support, and freedom. Additionally, its working conditions heavily favor the employee. Norwegians are genuinely happy to pay their taxes.

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Norwegians enjoy excellent free healthcare and education with generous unemployment benefits and pensions. Norway people think that democracy should enforce equality. Moreover, it offers unemployment insurance and child support. Both a good economy and proper health care affected the degree of happiness. Additionally, Norway has a relatively low crime level in recent years with large populations.

4 Iceland, Happiness Index: 7.504

Beautiful super wide-angle aerial view of Reykjavik, Iceland with harbor and skyline mountains and scenery beyond the city, seen from the observation tower of Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral.

Iceland maintains the fourth position for the third year in a row in the happiness ranking. But why does Iceland rank so high on the World Happiness Report? People don’t have to worry about the hospital or doctor appointment costs, health care, maternity or paternity leave, higher education, and day-care.

Icelanders need to pay some hefty taxes, but they are happy to get a lot in return. Iceland also provides excellent social services. Besides, its crime levels are an extremely low, incredibly violent crime. Although the global financial crisis of 2008 rocked Iceland, they have a shallow unemployment rate of 4%. This one of the happiest countries consistently ranks high for gender equality. It’s tough for us to be unhappy when natural beauty surrounded us.

3 Switzerland, Happiness Index: 7.560

Beautiful Architecture at Bern, the capital city of Switzerland.

After getting the top position in the 2015 World Happiness Report, Switzerland slowly lost its ground until last year. We can find that it reached the lowest spot in the ranking ever at sixth in 2019. Swiss’ average lifespan is around 83.4 years. Research has shown that chocolate can make the brain release dopamine. No country does chocolate like Switzerland.

Swiss work 35.2 hours per week, on average, according to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It is also a country with fantastic landscapes. It is famous for its cheese, and people considered it as “king of cheese.” Despite the cheese and chocolate, Switzerland is among the countries with the lowest obesity rate in Europe.

2 Denmark, Happiness Index: 7.646

Copenhagen City, Denmark.

Denmark is coming in runner-up for the second year in a row. But what makes Danes so happy? Is it the lack of crime, corruption, or high-quality education? $20 minimum wages, 33 hours work in a week, generous unemployment benefits, free medical, university, and highly subsidized child care are the main reasons why Danes are happier than others. This one of the happiest countries does well on both social equality and community spirit.

Even though Denmark has nine major political parties, none of them poorly supports dismantling Denmark’s welfare state. Danish people pay the highest tax in the world.  But the vast majority of Danish people happily pay the taxes. Perhaps most importantly, however, Danes value a cultural construct known as “hygge.”

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1 Finland, Happiness Index: 7.809

Scenic summer aerial panorama of the Old Town architecture in Helsinki, Finland.

Why are Finns so happy? It is not because of Finland’s weather, for sure! The country’s state policies on welfare, freedom, equality, and mutual trust have contributed to making it the top happiest country for the third time in a row. Based on a societal level, its success mainly lies in its rigid social safety network, a strong commitment to gender equality, high-quality education, and a culture of trust.

In recent years, various international bodies have named Finland the most stable, the safest, and the freest. This one of the happiest countries provides wealth redistribution and progressive taxation, which gives free healthcare and free quality education for Finnish people. Over 80% of Finnish people trust the country’s police due to their zero recorded brutality or corruption incidents.