The annual World Happiness Report, which ranks global happiness in more than 150 countries around the world, was released to mark the International Day of Happiness.

The United Nations has proclaimed March 20 as annual International Day of Happiness to remind people that the "fundamental human goal" in life should be to attain happiness, according to its website.

Ten years have passed since the United Nations first celebrated the International Day of Happiness in 2013 to "recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world."

The year 2023 also marks the 10th anniversary of the first World Happiness Report, which ranks nations globally on the basis of how happy its people are, according to Forbes.

In the report, the happiness of a nation is determined by six key factors: income, health, social support, freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

For the sixth year in a row, Finland continues to sit at the top of the table as the happiest country in the world, according to the report's ranking, which largely uses data from sources like the Gallup World Poll.

"Is it, are they doing things that we wish we'd seen before and we can start doing? Or is it something unique about their climate and history that make them different? And fortunately, at least from my perspective, the answer is the former," John Helliwell, one of the authors of the World Happiness Report, told CNN.

The U.S. moved one spot higher to secure the 15th rank this year to join the top 20 happiest countries in the world.

The 20 happiest countries in 2023 according to the World Happiness Report are:

  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

The 20 unhappiest countries in 2023 as per the World Happiness Report are:

  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

According to the report, people's life evaluations have been "remarkably resilient" as the global averages from 2020-2022 are as high as those in the pre-Covid years of 2017-2019.

"Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness," Helliwell said in the news release.

The years 2020 and 2021 saw a surge in benevolence across the globe, and now, the data for 2022 also shows that prosocial acts are still 25% higher when compared to the pre-pandemic level.

"Benevolence to others, especially the helping of strangers, which went up dramatically in 2021, stayed high in 2022," Helliwell added.

Data further cited positive social relations behind the resilience of life evaluations during times of crisis.

"Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness," Helliwell said.

Two of the most talked-about countries in 2022 were Russia and Ukraine, which ranked 70 and 92 respectively in this year's happiness report.

Benevolence grew "sharply" in Ukraine during 2022, but declined in Russia.

"Despite the magnitude of suffering and damage in Ukraine, life evaluations in September 2022 remained higher than in the aftermath of the 2014 annexation, supported now by a stronger sense of common purpose, benevolence, and trust in Ukrainian leadership," the report stated.

Data also found that both Ukrainian and Russian residents showed more confidence in their national governments in 2022. However, this confidence grew at a higher rate in Ukraine than in Russia.

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