UN report: Turkey is the 74th happiest nation among 156 countries

Turkey has slipped five places to 74th out of 156 countries in the “world happiness ratings,” while Finland tops the list, according to The World Happiness Report 2018, which is an annual publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), issued on Wednesday. Turkey came 69th in last year’s report.

Among the variables, Turkey performed strongest in social support and reasonably well in GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy. Freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption are the variables that seem to have lowered Turkey’s ranking.

The rankings are based on surveys undertaken by Gallup International from 2015-2017 and well-being indicators such as income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.

The report says that Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to the survey, which found that Americans are becoming less happy even as their country becomes richer. Burundi came bottom in the report, which ranked 156 countries according to factors such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

Taking their harsh, dark winters in stride, Finns said access to nature, safety, childcare, good schools and free healthcare were among the best things in their country.

“I’ve joked with the other Americans that we are living the American dream here in Finland,” said Brianna Owens, who moved from the United States and is now a teacher in Espoo, Finland’s second biggest city with a population of around 280,000. “I think everything in this society is set up for people to be successful, starting with university and transportation that works really well,” Owens told Reuters.

Finland rose from fifth place last year to oust Norway from the top spot. The 2018 top 10, always dominated by the Nordic countries, are: Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia. The United States came in at 18th, down from 14th place last year. Britain was 19th and the United Arab Emirates 20th.

One chapter of the 170-page report is dedicated to emerging health problems such as obesity, depression and the opioid crisis, particularly in the US where the prevalence of all three has grown faster than in most other countries. While US income per capita has increased markedly over the last half century, happiness has been hit by weakened social support networks, a perceived rise in corruption in government and business and declining confidence in public institutions.

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