The report was produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and edited by three economists: Dr. Sachs, the network's director and a professor at Columbia University; John F. Helliwell, a senior fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia; and Richard Layard, a director of the Well-Being Program at the London School of Economics' Center for Economic Performance. Two more Nordic countries follow: Denmark and Iceland.
The Nordic nation headed up the 156-country ranking, followed by last year's victor Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. Among the top countries, differences are small enough that that year-to-year changes in the rankings are to be expected.
This year's survey was also the first to assess the happiness of immigrants in each of the countries.
The foreign-born were least happy in Syria, which has been mired in civil war for seven years.
The survey also found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer, while Finland rose from fifth place in 2017 to oust Norway from the top spot.
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While convergence to local happiness levels is quite rapid, it is not complete, as there is a "footprint" effect based on the happiness in each source country.
The report ranked 156 countries according to factors such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption. The finding on the happiness of immigrants "shows the conditions that we live under matter greatly to our quality of life, that happiness is not only a matter of choice".
"The attitude of immigrants is also important - if they are to find and accept opportunities to connect with the local populations, this is better for everyone", the report explained. This effect ranges from 10% to 25%.
Although happiness and other squishy subjective experiences such as love are notoriously hard to measure - still, every year The Global Happiness Council sets out to objectively study and quantity happiness levels of various countries around the world. Canada has a higher spot on the immigrant happiness list, coming in at number four. It does not mean that Finland is a Utopia, nor that Finns are never unhappy.
"The U.S.is in the midst of a complex and worsening public health crisis, involving epidemics of obesity, opioid addiction, and major depressive disorder that are all remarkable by global standards", the report said.
In fact, he noted, the 10 countries that scored highest in overall happiness also had the happiest immigrants. Design by Stislow Design.