Belgium edges into world's top 20 happiest countries

Belgium edges into world's top 20 happiest countries
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Belgium ranks 19th in the list of happiest countries in the world in 2022, dropping two places from its 17th rank last year, according to the 'World Happiness Report,' an annual survey by the United Nations.

The researchers measure happiness per country based on various criteria, including healthy life expectancy, personal freedom, social support in difficult times and perceptions of corruption, but also a country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.

"The pandemic brought not only pain and suffering but also an increase in social support and benevolence," the UN stated. "As we battle the ills of disease and war, it is essential to remember the universal desire for happiness and the capacity of individuals to rally to each other’s support in times of great need."

In the latest report, Belgium scores a total of 6.805 in 10, over a point less than Finland (7.821), which has been elected the happiest country in the world for the fifth consecutive year. According to researchers, Finland scores so high because of the high level of mutual trust between the population and the government.

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Denmark continues to occupy second place, with Iceland up from 4th place last year to 3rd this year. Switzerland ranks 4th, followed by the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The top ten is rounded out by Sweden, Norway, Israel and New Zealand.

Next in line are Austria, Australia, Ireland, Germany and Canada in 15th place – a substantial fall for Canada, which was ranked 5th in the first World Happiness Report.

The rest of the top 20 include the United States at 16th (up from 19th last year), the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic still in 17th and 18th, followed by Belgium. The last country in the top 20 is France, in its highest ranking yet.

In addition to the happiest countries, the report also looked at the countries with the unhappiest population. Afghanistan is in last place, with a score of 2.404 in 10. "This proves that war has a great impact on people's well-being," the researchers stated.

The list was compiled before Russia invaded Ukraine. The full report can be found here.

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