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Are we happy yet? Finland is.


If you can get your head around the idea of a World Happiness Report, compiled from Gallup Poll and other data and released annually by the United Nations, you've probably been waiting to see who would be the 2020 winner.

And no surprises, for the third year in a row, it's Finland. And for the seventh year out of nine, the crown has landed in Scandinavia. Only Switzerland, in 2015, has been able to break the monopoly, and that came after a year in which there was no report—which undoubtedly made some unhappy.

The report is based on self-evaluation by people living in 156 countries, based on their evaluations of their own lives. This year's list, after Finland, includes Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, Austria and Luxembourg. New Zealand is the only non-European country ever to make the top ten, by the way.

In each of the eight survey years, the Scandinavian countries have all placed in the top ten; in the 2020 report, the author's have even included, along with masses of data, an attempt at explaining what the authors call 'the Nordic Exceptionalism.'

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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