Prague, Czech Republic – Contrary to what some of you might think, Czechs are not an unhappy bunch. Quite the contrary: the Czech Republic ranks among the happiest nations on earth.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network recently released its annual World Happiness Report 2019, a study examining the level of happiness of 156 countries in the world. The report, the 7th of its kind, is based on an average of surveys conducted by Gallup from 2016 to 2018 and takes into account a wide range of factors, including gross domestic product per capita, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make choices, perceived corruption and social support from friends and family.
“We are in an era of rising tensions and negative emotions”, U.N. researchers highlight, “and these findings point to underlying challenges that need to be addressed”.
For the second year in a row, Finland tops the ranking of the world’s happiest countries, followed by Nordic neighbours Denmark, Norway and Iceland, with the Netherlands completing the top 5. Out of the 20 happiest countries on the planet, 14 of them are located in Europe.
As the 20th happiest country in the world, the Czech Republic tops the ranking for Central and Eastern Europe, and is placed right after the United States, which loses one spot compared to the previous year. While Slovakia and Poland rank at a commendable 38th and 40th position worldwide respectively, Hungary trails behind: as the 62nd happiest country on the planet, it’s one of the unhappiest nations in the EU, beating only a handful of other European states (Portugal, Croatia, Greece and Bulgaria).
Other top performing nations in Central and Eastern Europe ranked in the world’s top 50 include Lithuania (42nd), Slovenia (44th) and Romania (48th).
Costa Rica (12th), Israel (13th) Taiwan (25th) and Libya (72nd) rank as the happiest countries in Latin America, the Middle-East, Asia and Africa respectively.
According to the World Happiness Report 2019, the unhappiest countries in the world are South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Yemen.
Since 2005, the countries that reported the highest increase in their level of happiness are Benin, Nicaragua, Bulgaria and Latvia (with Slovakia experienced the 8th biggest improvement). At the opposite end of the scale, Venezuela, Syria, Botswana and India saw their average happiness significantly drop over the past decade.