The world’s happiest countries in 2022: Bahrain leads for smiles in the Gulf

Finland tops the global list for the fifth year running while Afghanistan remains the unhappiest country in the world

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Finland has been named the happiest country in the world for the fifth year in a row in the annual ranking of the world’s happiest countries.

The UN-sponsored index ranked Bahrain as the happiest country in the Gulf region, with the tiny kingdom ranking in 21st place globally. In the UAE, people are also relatively happy, with the emirates moving up to 24th position.

At the other end of the spectrum, Afghanistan remained in last position as the unhappiest country, followed closely by Lebanon. The latest rankings were compiled before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Finland is once again the happiest country in the world, topping the world rankings for the fifth year. Photo: Business Finland

“The World Happiness Report 2022 reveals a bright light in dark times … As we battle the ills of disease and war, it is essential to remember the universal desire for happiness and the capacity of individuals to rally to each other’s support in times of great need,” states the report.

Nordic nations once again dominated the top spots — with Denmark in second place and Iceland in third.

The 10 happiest countries in the world

Finland tops the annual ranking of the world’s happiest countries, followed by Denmark and Iceland. Photo: Unsplash / Kaur Martin
  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Switzerland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Sweden
  8. Norway
  9. Israel
  10. New Zealand

The report has been running for 10 years and uses global survey data to report on people’s assessment of their own happiness, as well as economic and social data from more than 150 countries worldwide.

Scores are given on a scale of zero to 10, and findings are based on data gathered over a three-year period.

This year's report found that people in every global region were giving more to others by way of donations, volunteering and helping strangers than in previous years. It also found that “life evaluations continue to be strikingly resilient in the face of Covid-19, supported by a 2021 pandemic of benevolence.”

What are the happiest countries in the GCC?

  1. Bahrain (21st globally)
  2. UAE (24th globally)
  3. Saudi Arabia (25th globally)
  4. Kuwait (50th globally)

Both Oman and Qatar are absent from the 2022 report.

Elsewhere, Canada slipped to its lowest ranking ever, at 15th, the US moved up three spots, coming in at 16th and the UK maintained its position in 17th.

China jumped from 84th to 72nd place in this year’s report, with people’s perception of how the country handled the global pandemic contributing to an overall rise in well-being. India, meanwhile, fell to 136th place.

Joining Afghanistan and Lebanon at the bottom of the rankings are Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Botswana.

Updated: March 19, 2022, 7:54 AM