The United Nations released the 2018 'World Happiness Report' today. It is based on surveys conducted from 2015 to 2017, in which thousands of respondents were asked to imagine a ladder with steps numbered 0 to 10 and to say which step they felt they stood on, a ranking known as the Cantril Scale.
The top 10 countries’ averages ranged from 7.632 for Finland (in first place) to 7.272 for Australia (in tenth place). The United States’ average was 6.886, down from 6.993 last year. At the bottom of the list was Burundi, with an average of 2.905.
The authors of the report had many theories as to what helps to make a country happy. But In the spirit of honouring our Lappies home land, I thought I'd create my own list of why Finns the happiest people on earth.
Well this is obvious isn't it?! Who wouldn't be happy surrounded by Lappies? The Finns take great pride in their five national breeds- The Finnish Lapphund, Lapponian Herder, Finnish Spitz, Finnish Hound, and Karelian Bear dog. They are among the post popular breeds in the country and many are still used for their original purpose.
2. The beautiful Finnish nature
Finland is land of the lakes and forests. Many Finnish families maintain a Summer cottage, where they will regularly visit with family to enjoy their natural surroundings.
Having experienced authentic saunas in Finland I can say with certainty that they are pretty special. The steam warms you to your core, and gives you almost super human strength to face the sub zero temperatures outside. They are also a place of bonding and reflection. Almost every home has at least one sauna.
Finland has a law called 'Everyman's right', which allows people to enter any public or private property to forage for berries and other food items. The Cloudberry is a particularly precious berry. The season is short, and they are harder to find. But nothing beats berry hunting in Finnish forests.
5. Heavy Metal Music
Yes you heard me correctly. Finland has the most heavy metal bands per capita in the world.
I'm not entirely sure how this makes them happy, but I'll take their word for it.
6. The Finnish Education System
Children don't start school until they are 7, but even then they have less hours of schooling. The initial years of schooling focus on learning through play. The teachers have masters degrees are are given autonomy to structure their lessons. The Finns are a world leader in education, and often studied by other countries.
7. The highest coffee consumption in the world
I can confirm this, having hosted a Finn who flew through the coffee supplies.
The average coffee consumption around the world is 1.3kg per person, per year. Finns however, have an average consumption of 12kg per person per year. Whatever helps get them through that Winter!
8. It's a great place to be a woman and parent
Mothers receive four months of paid maternity leave, and fathers receive nine weeks of paid paternity leave. This is also offered to the self employed, unemployed and students. Generous ongoing benefits apply while children are young.
New parents receive a maternity care box from the Finnish government, containing clothes and essential items for a baby.
Almost half of the national government are woman (42%).
9. Helsinki is the most honest city in the world
Reader's Digest decided to drop 192 wallets into 16 different cities from New York to Mumbai to see how many of them would be returned. In every city 12 wallets were dropped and in Lisbon, Portugal, only one of the wallets was returned - by a couple on holiday from Holland. Compare this with Helsinki, the winner of the experiment, where 11 wallets out of 12 were returned making the capital of Finland the most honest city in the world.
10. Borrowing books from libraries
In New York people borrow on average 8 books per capita per year. In Berlin the number is 6.8, in London 4.8, in Paris 4, in Shanghai 2.5, and in Rio de Janeiro 0.03. In Finland, however, the number is 18 per capita. That means that a family of five borrowing 100 books during one year is nothing unusual. In fact it is the norm rather than the exception.
11. The Northern Lights
'nuff said! Are you ready to move to Finland?