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15 March 2018, 05:35 | Franklin Nunez
Finland has come out on top of an international index that ranks nations by how happy they are as places to live
The 2018 top-10, as ever dominated by the Nordics, is Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia. There is a new top ranking country, Finland, but the top ten positions are held by the same countries as in the last two years, although with some swapping of places.
The United States, 14th previous year, is now 18th, while the United Kingdom is in 19th, the same spot it occupied in 2017.
"A noteworthy finding is that Russia-born people in Israel evaluate their lives much more positively after migration but simultaneously experience adverse outcomes in terms of affect", the report explained.
Wiking from the Happiness Research Institute said the USA had also seen declining "trust, generosity and social support, and those are some of the factors that explain why some countries are happier than others".
The majority of its immigrants come from other European nations but it also has expats from Afghanistan, China, Iraq and Somalia.
Mauritius, ranked 55th, is the happiest African country.
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For the first time in its history, the report also took into consideration the happiness levels of a country's immigrant population.
Finland has captured the title of world's happiest country for 2018, along with world's happiest immigrant population. Within the report, Israel ranked 12th in the "happiness for the foreign-born", meaning immigrants. [Israel's ranking on the happiness index] keeps going up, and people say, 'How can it be? One of the poll's examples showed that Russian immigrants who moved to Israel have a much happier and better life than in the former country.
"The U.S.is in the midst of a complex and worsening public health crisis, involving epidemics of obesity, opioid addiction, and major depressive disorder that are all remarkable by global standards", the report said. Germany came in 15th, the United Kingdom was 19th - followed by Japan in 54th place, Russian Federation in 59th and China in 86th. "Those who move to happier countries gain, while those who move to less happy countries lose".
"America's subjective wellbeing is being systematically undermined by three interrelated epidemic diseases, notably obesity, substance abuse (especially opioid addiction) and depression", said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University in NY, and one of the report's authors.
The primary reasons for our high levels of wellbeing are the country's GDP, a healthy life expectancy and strong social support available for Kiwis. Most notably, it found that the happiness of a country's immigrants is nearly identical to that of its population at large - indicating, Helliwell said, that "people essentially adjust to the average happiness level of the country they're moving to".
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