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  • The Merge

Top 20 Happiest Countries in 2023 – International Day of Happiness 10th Anniversary Edition

Updated: Jun 13, 2023


It is undeniable that Finland is a bastion of happiness. For six consecutive years, Finland has claimed the title of the world's happiest country in the World Happiness Report, an annual ranking that evaluates happiness across more than 150 nations.

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network supervises the report, which is published each year in celebration of the International Day of Happiness on March 20. This report determines the happiest countries, the least happy nations, and all those in between, as well as the contributing factors to increased happiness.

The ranking system utilizes data from sources such as the Gallup World Poll and assesses six critical factors: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and lack of corruption.

This year's list closely mirrors the rankings in 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019, with many Nordic countries consistently occupying the top spots. Denmark maintains its second-place position, as it did in 2022, followed by Iceland in third place.

The report's authors highlight the Nordic countries' high levels of personal and institutional trust, as well as their low COVID-19 death rates in 2020 and 2021, at only one-third the rate of other Western European nations.

However, Finland remains the undisputed champion, holding a significant lead over other countries for the sixth consecutive year.

A six-year winning streak for the world’s happiest nation

Experts from Aalto University in Finland attribute Finland's happiness to several factors, including a robust welfare system that ensures citizens feel supported. This support includes relatively generous unemployment benefits and nearly free healthcare, reducing the number of highly unsatisfied individuals in Finland.

Urban planning in Finland also contributes to people feeling healthy and secure. A person's environment significantly influences happiness, emphasizing the importance of health promotion in cities and fostering social sustainability and community connections.

What Changed?

In the 2023 rankings, Israel rose five places to claim the fourth spot, displacing Switzerland (now in eighth place). The Netherlands held steady at number five, while Sweden and Norway each climbed one position to sixth and seventh, respectively.

Canada moved up two spots to number 13, and the United States rose one position to number 15. Belgium advanced two spots to number 17, and Lithuania entered the top 20 for the first time, having risen more than 30 positions since 2017.

Some countries experienced a decline in their 2023 rankings, including Luxembourg, Ireland, Germany, and the United Kingdom. France dropped out of the top 20 altogether.


The report also examines the unhappiest countries, with war-ravaged Afghanistan and Lebanon ranking the lowest. These countries' average life evaluations are more than five points lower than the ten happiest countries. Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and Congo complete the list of the five unhappiest nations.

In addition to country rankings, the report assesses the global state in 2023. Co-author Lara Aknin is optimistic about the findings, noting that various forms of everyday kindness, such as assisting strangers, donating to charity, and volunteering, are above pre-pandemic levels for the second consecutive year.

The top 20 happiest countries in 2023 and the 20 unhappiest countries are listed below.

finald - happiest country 2023
Helsinki, Finland | Photo by Tapio Haaja on Unsplash

Happiest Countries in 2023:
  1. Finland

  2. Denmark

  3. Iceland

  4. Israel

  5. Netherlands

  6. Sweden

  7. Norway

  8. Switzerland

  9. Luxembourg

  10. New Zealand

  11. Austria

  12. Australia

  13. Canada

  14. Ireland

  15. United States

  16. Germany

  17. Belgium

  18. Czech Republic

  19. United Kingdom

  20. Lithuania

afghanistan - unhappiest country 2023
Badakhshan, Afghanistan | Photo by Joel Heard on Unsplash

Unhappiest Countries in 2023:
  1. Afghanistan

  2. Lebanon

  3. Sierra Leone

  4. Zimbabwe

  5. Congo

  6. Botswana

  7. Malawi

  8. Comoros

  9. Tanzania

  10. Zambia

  11. Madagascar

  12. India

  13. Liberia

  14. Ethiopia

  15. Jordan

  16. Togo

  17. Egypt

  18. Mali

  19. Gambia

  20. Bangladesh


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