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Finland named the happiest country in the world

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Finland named the happiest country in the world

Finland named the happiest country in the world

For a second year running Finland is the world's happiest country according to an annual survey issued on Wednesday by a United Nations-affiliated group.

Francesca Lynagh reports.


Finland named the happiest country in the world

It's fondly known as the home of Santa Claus and the Northern Lights.

And now, Finland has earned another official title - the happiest country in the world - for the second year running.

That's according to an annual UN-affiliated survey released on Wednesday (March 20).

The World Happiness Report ranked 156 countries in total.

Reuters Gwladys Fouche.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS GWLADYS FOUCHE SAYING: ''The Nordic countries tend to be at the top of those ranking and that's for several reasons.

They have very good healthcare, there's very little crime, they have very generous welfare systems - for which they pay very high taxes - but in exchange, they get good social provisions.

And also there's very little inequality between different social classes in society, or at least much less than in other countries.'' The report judges countries on six key variables that support well-being; income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity.

This year, the other top spots were taken by Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

Following them were Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria.

The U.S. on the other hand fell to 19th place.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS GWLADYS FOUCHE SAYING: ''If there was a tip they would give to the US, would be I think to pay more taxes.

In some of these countries you can pay something like half of your income or more on taxes.

And if you want to have good social services, and less crime, and have better health among the population, then you'll probably need to pay more taxes.'' The five countries that have suffered the largest drops since 2005-2008 were Yemen, India, Syria, Botswana and Venezuela.

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