Defining happiness can be tricky because it means something different for everyone but in the latest World Happiness Report, Finland takes the top spot for the world's happiest country. The list, which ranked 156 countries, uses six basic metrics to figure out where each country lands including income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support, and generosity.
Finland's win bumped last year's winner Norway to second place with the next top countries, Denmark and Iceland also being part of Scandinavia along with the top two. The top 10 is rounded out by Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia.
Unfortunately, the United States dropped to the 18th spot, a few behind last year's position at 14. "Governments are increasingly using indicators of happiness to inform their policy-making decisions," said report co-editor Jeffrey D. Sachs, who is also an economics professor. "U.S. policymakers should take note. The U.S. happiness ranking is falling, in part because of the ongoing epidemics of obesity, substance abuse, and untreated depression." Ouch.
Thanks to the country of Bhutan, which came in 97th place this year, happiness has been an important metric for various countries after the prime minister proposed World Happiness Day to the United Nations. The U.N. would go on to declare March 20 as the official date since 2012 with the understanding that happiness is a "fundamental human goal" and that it's an important consideration in the creation of public policy around the world.
You can view the full report here.