Since the World Happiness Report was first published in 2012, Switzerland has always been ranked near the top. In the 2015 report it was ranked first.
The report takes a serious look at some hard-to-quantify but important measures of human wellbeing. It aims to shift the measurement of wellbeing beyond metrics such as wealth, the measure traditionally used.
Data and polls run in each country lead to to scores on wealth, healthy life expectancy, social support, trust, freedom to make life decisions, generosity and dystopia. Dystopia is an unquantifiable seventh element, which is also used to account for cultural differences.
This year Switzerland slipped down to fourth place behind Iceland (3rd), Denmark (2nd) and Finland (1st). Iceland and Switzerland switched places. Differences between the nations in the top 5 spots are small. There are 309 points between Finland (7,821) and Switzerland (7,512). This is equivalent to a 4% difference.
The biggest difference between leader Finland and Switzerland is unexplained factors (dystopia). Switzerland is also slightly behind Finland on social support, freedom to make life choices and perceived corruption but ahead on GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy and generosity.
Switzerland’s fall in the ranking since 2015 is down to a combination of its own backsliding and improvements in the scores of Finland (7,406 -> 7,821 +5.6%) and Denmark (7,527 -> 7,636 +1.4%). Both Iceland (7,561 -> 7,557 -0.0%) and Switzerland fell but Switzerland fell more (7,587 -> 7,512 -1.0%). However, the decline in Switzerland’s score was less than 1.0%.
The report said that life evaluations were strikingly resilient in the face of Covid-19. The pandemic led to worse health and unemployment and highlighted pre-existing differences between men and women and those with low and high incomes. At the same time it led to higher levels of donating, volunteering and other prosocial behaviour. Global benevolence increased by 25% in 2021 compared to its pre-pandemic level, led by the helping of strangers, but with strong growth also in donations and volunteering. Beyond small angry minorities, the pandemic appears to have led to a global pandemic of benevolence.
World Happiness Report 2022 (in English)