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Mapped: Global Happiness Levels in 2022

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Check out the latest update of the World Happiness Report.

World Happiness Levels 2022

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Mapped: Global Happiness Levels in 2022

Check out the latest update of the World Happiness Report.

What really makes people happy? While countless academic researchers have tried to get to the bottom of this, the truth is, it’s a complicated question to answer.

Happiness levels depend on a number of factors, including one’s financial security, perceptions of social support, feelings of personal freedom, and much more.

This map pulls data from the World Happiness Report to uncover the average happiness scores of 146 countries. It shows average scores from 2019 to 2021, and highlights which countries are the happiest—or unhappiest—and why.

How is Happiness Measured?

Before diving in, let’s briefly touch on how happiness levels are measured in this report.

The numbers shown represent the survey data from thousands of respondents for each country, who are asked to rate their subjective well-being (happiness score) using the Cantril life ladder question. For more information on the methodology of this and technical notes, go here.

The report also does a regression analysis to look at how happiness scores could be explained, by looking at tangible and intangible factors that could factor in:

  • Social support
  • Life expectancy
  • Freedom to make life choices
  • Generosity
  • GDP per capita
  • Perceptions of corruption
  • Positive and negative affects

Similar to last year, the report takes special considerations to track how COVID-19 has impacted aspects of our daily lives, and how it’s affected global happiness levels.

Editor’s note: there are several countries covered in last year’s report that were not included in this year’s dataset, including Haiti, Maldives, and Burundi.

Zooming in: Regional Happiness Levels

Worldwide happiness comes in at an average score of 5.6, which is a slight improvement since last year’s report. Below, we dive into each region’s happiness levels.

North America

Current Mood: Happy (6.3)

Like last year, Canada ranks first as the happiest country in North America. However, it’s lost some ground on the global ranking, placing 15th this year compared to 14th the year prior. In contrast, the U.S. climbed three places in this year’s report and ranked just under Canada with a score of 6.97 (7.0 after rounding).

regional map measuring happiness levels in north america in 2022

The Dominican Republic comes in last place in the region. While the Dominican Republic has experienced impressive economic growth over the last 25 years, the country was hit hard by the global pandemic—in 2020, approximately 270,000 people fell into poverty, and the economy is still struggling to reach its pre-pandemic levels.

South America

Current Mood: Content (5.8)

Uruguay retains its top spot as the happiest country in South America. It continues to rank high on the list because of its high income per capita, relatively low levels of poverty, and strong middle class.

While Uruguay was not immune to the impacts of COVID-19, the country was able to transition smoothly to online learning and was the first country in the region to reopen schools.

regional map measuring happiness levels in south america in 2022
In last year’s World Happiness Report, Colombia was the most improved country in the region. But this year, it’s dropped 14 places on the global ranking, making it the least improved country in this year’s report.

While Colombia has made significant strides towards elevating extreme poverty in the last few decades, it still has one of the highest levels of income inequality in Latin America. In 2020, its top 10% of workers took home more than 50% of national income.

Europe

Current Mood: Happy (6.5)

Finland is not only the happiest country in Europe, but it also takes the top spot as the happiest country in the world, for the fifth year in a row. Finland is one of five Nordic countries to place in the top 10. Denmark comes in second place, followed by Iceland in third.

regional map measuring happiness levels in europe in 2022

Romania was the most improved country in Europe, climbing 18 spots on the global ranking since last year’s report. Over the last decade, the country has seen some of the most significant economic growth in the European Union and was able to bounce back quickly from its COVID-19- triggered slump.

Ukraine ranks in last place, making it the unhappiest country in Europe. Ukraine has experienced ongoing challenges since the Maidan Uprising peaked in 2014. Events in the country have recently taken a turn for the worse, when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. As a result of the conflict, over 3 million people have fled the country.

Middle East and Central Asia

Current Mood: It’s Complicated (5.2)

Turkmenistan is the most improved country in the region, rising 19 places on the global ranking since last year’s report. The country’s boost could be explained by its rapid economic growth in recent years. In 2021, the country’s GDP grew by an estimated 6.3%.

regional map measuring happiness levels in middle east in 2022

For the last two years, Lebanon has been dealing with a slew of crises. In 2020, COVID-19 spurred an economic crisis that’s been ranked as one of the top 10 most severe economic crises since the mid-nineteenth century. And on August 4th, 2020, a massive ammonium nitrate explosion left the country’s capital city, Beirut, in shambles.

East Asia and Oceania

Current Mood: Neutral (5.6)

Note: As the report only covers 146 countries, “Oceania” only refers to Australia and New Zealand in this instance.

In this year’s report, China climbed 12 places on the global ranking, making it the most improved country in East Asia and Oceania. The Chinese government recently identified “common prosperity” as a top priority, and has made numerous policy shifts in an effort to combat inequality and eradicate poverty.

regional map measuring happiness levels in east asia in 2022
On the flipside, Thailand has improved the least in the region, likely because of the significant toll that COVID-19 had on the country’s economy. In 2020, economic growth shrunk by 6.1% in Thailand—the country’s worst contraction since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. Thailand’s economy is not expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

Africa

Current Mood: Unhappy (4.5)

With a regional score of 4.5, Africa ranks as the unhappiest region worldwide. Zimbabwe remains the most unhappy country in the region, as it continues to struggle with high levels of poverty. In 2021, approximately 6.1 million people were living below the international poverty line.

regional map measuring happiness levels in Africa in 2022
Mauritius remains the happiest country in the region, likely because of its relatively high levels of income. It’s worth noting that Mauritius became a High-Income country in July 2020, but slipped back to its Upper-Middle-Income status in 2021 because of the global pandemic.

We’re into our third year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s clear that countries worldwide are still reeling from the pandemic’s devastating health, social, and economic impact. It’s unclear when things will fully return to normal—if ever. But on the bright side, countries are slowly showing signs of recovery.

Editor’s note: We’ve adjusted the “How is Happiness Measured” portion of this article to better reflect the methodology used in the World Happiness Report

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Mapped: Countries With a Shrinking Consumer Class by 2030

Despite the consumer class growing worldwide, some countries are predicted to see a decline in the number of consumers over the next decade.

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Map showing countries predicted to see a decline in the number of consumers over the next decade.

Visualizing Countries With a Shrinking Consumer Class by 2030

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Over 100 million people are expected to be added to the consumer class worldwide just in 2024.

Despite this, some countries are actually predicted to see a decline in their number of consumers over the coming years.

In this visualization, we list key countries that are losing consumers, using data from 2023 from the World Data Lab.

Demographic Changes Impacting Consumption

Under the definition used here, a consumer is classified as someone who spends at least $12 per day. Currently, more than half of the world’s population is considered to be in the consumer class—about 4 billion people in 2023.

According to World Data Lab research, demographic changes are the major factor driving increases and reductions in the number of consumers globally.

In Japan, where the most significant anticipated decline in consumer numbers is expected by 2030, the diminishing workforce and decreasing consumer base are mostly the consequence of the country’s low birth rate.

CountryDecrease in Consumer Class Size by 2030
🇹🇼 Taiwan-124,000
🇧🇬 Bulgaria-135,000
🇩🇪 Germany-152,000
🇵🇹 Portugal-178,000
🇮🇹 Italy-480,000
🇯🇵 Japan-3,600,000

Currently, more than half of all municipalities in Japan are designated as depopulated districts, with schools shutting down and over 1.2 million small businesses owned by older individuals or families lacking successors.

In Europe as well, a decline in both birth rates and an aging population is impacting consumption. Italy is expected to lose almost half a million consumers by the end of the decade. Births in Italy dropped to a historic low below 400,000 in 2022, and Italy’s dearth of babies is considered a national emergency.

The emigration of working-age individuals can also shrink a country’s consumer class. For instance, between 2019 and 2022, Taiwan’s population shrank by roughly 300,000.

As the age of the average consumer grows, the demand for healthcare services, leisure activities, and retirement-related offerings will increase.

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