Iceland has achieved second place in a new global ranking of population happiness, following a study intended to reflect the impact of the global pandemic on how people perceive their lives.
It seems that only Finland has a more contented populace, while Denmark, Switzerland and The Netherlands occupy third, fourth and fifth positions
The World Happiness Report is authored by a consortium of academic groups from various institutions, including Columbia University in New York City, the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and the London School of Economics. The data is gathered through a global survey by polling company Gallup.
The authors have been producing indices of global contentment since 2012, usually based on an average of studies from the previous three years. However, since the pandemic made 2020 such an unusual year, they decided to publish study results from last year only to illustrate how societies feel in the pandemic era. This approach places Iceland in second place globally, (more detail on which can be found in this blog post by the report’s authors).
The report offers many and varied factors which might account for the differences between countries. “The age of the population, whether the country is an island and proximity to other highly infected countries” may all play a part, it suggests.
Cultural differences might also be a factor, say the authors. “Confidence in public institutions, knowledge from previous epidemics, income inequality and whether the head of government is a woman” may all have an effect on the perception of survey respondents.
The original version of this story has been edited to improve clarity and accuracy.
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