World Happiness Report Finds Social Environment to be Key Factor in Quality of Life Score


March 20, 2020 marks International Day of Happiness. Every year on this day, the World Happiness Report is released analyzing levels of subjective well being and quality of life in more than 150 countries around the world. 

Yearly the report chooses a different area of special focus. Environments for happiness, the 2020 focus was designed to analyze which social environments cultivate the most happiness reflected by personal social connections and social institutions. 

The entirety of the 202 page report can be found on the world happiness report website. Absent of time to read it in its entirety, here are 10 interesting findings from the 2020 Happiness Report


While the poll shows both change and stability, the Top 20 happiest countries are the same as last year.


Highest ranking countries, regardless of variables, all support well-being, majority steady income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust in society and high levels of generosity. 


Nordic countries consistently report the highest levels of happiness. Some correlation can be made to accessible green spaces and societal contentment. 


Canada has been pushed out of the top 10 position as happiest countries to live in. It now sits in 11th place after newcomer Luxembourg.


Canada has regularly dropped in ranking since it’s highest scoring in 2012 at 4th place.


Population-weighted life evaluations, that fell drastically post financial crisis in 2008, recovered by 2011, have now returned in 2019 to their post-crisis low.


Worldwide negative emotions have risen significantly mostly as a result of increased levels of worry and sadness. Anger levels have increased marginally and measures of positive emotions have no significant change.



Social connections, social trust and individual trust have both direct and indirect impacts on life evaluations


A country having a strong social environment reduces inequality of well being by about 13% which increases life satisfaction by 6%.


The study concluded that social environments are of the top determining factors when evaluating quality of life.