How happy are people in Canada? Not as happy as in Finland, but happier than those in the U.S.

Ontario may have experienced it’s darkest winter in more than 80 years, but light is shining through for the country at large with Canada named the 13th happiest country in the world.

According to The World Happiness Report, released Monday on the International Day of Happiness, Canadians are the 13th happiest bunch of folks in a group of 137 countries, based on average life evaluations, social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, dystopia and perceptions of corruption.

The report is part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and is largely based on data gathered from the Gallup World Poll. Around 1,000 people per country are surveyed annually. For the sixth year in a row, Finland is the happiest country.

Covering the past three years of happiness levels, this year’s report gives a glimpse into feelings during the pandemic from 2020 to 2022 — a time where lockdowns were prevalent, health messaging painted a grim picture and debates about public health measures were on full display.

Despite “overlapping crises,” however, most countries remained “remarkably resilient,” Canada moving up two places from its lowest-ever ranking last year.

“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,” said John Helliwell, one of the authors, in a release.

Besides giving the happiest countries bragging rights, the report also shows the factors that tend to make for a happier population. (No, those factors don’t include free Timbits and cheaper tickets to sporting events, though it may include lower costs for groceries.)

Here’s where Canada ranks on the list, and how the world can see more smiles.

How happy are Canadians?

Canada is the 13th happiest country in the world, according to the report, with a score of 7.0 — its lowest since the report began releasing information in 2012, yet still .10 points higher than the U.S. (6.9).

Canada was found to be a “Common-Interest State,” meaning it has found ways to bring “citizens together to recognize their common interests and reconcile their conflicting priorities.” This, the report says, appears to be strongly related to a high level of life satisfaction.

The gap between the happiest and unhappiest Canadians puts us in the 31st spot among the 137 countries surveyed, accounting for 2.8 points. In Afghanistan, the country with the lowest happiness gap, that number is 1.6.

The biggest happiness gap of the countries surveyed sits with Liberia, with a gap of 6.8 between the happy and unhappy.

How does the rest of the world rank?

Finland remained the happiest country in the world for the sixth year in a row (7.8), followed by Denmark (7.6) and Iceland (7.5). Israel (7.5) takes the fourth spot, Netherlands (7.4) the fifth and Sweden (7.4) the sixth. Norway (7.3), Switzerland (7.2), Luxembourg (7.2) and New Zealand (7.10) round out the top 10 spots.

Lithuania (6.7) made its way to the top 20, being the only new country to break into the group, and moved up more than 30 places since 2017.

On the other end of the scale, Afghanistan (1.8) and Lebanon (2.3) remain the two unhappiest countries in the survey, measuring more than five points lower than those countries who made the top-10 list.

Alessia Passafiume is a GTA-area based staff reporter for the Star’s Express Desk. Reach her via email: [email protected]


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