By: Juanita Bawagan
14 Mar, 2018
The World Happiness Report 2018, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, was released today at the Vatican. Finland jumped to the top spot followed by Norway, which was previously ranked the world’s happiest country. Notably, the United States dropped four spots to 18th place.
This report also considers the happiness of immigrants. It is the first World Happiness Report to rank the happiness of immigrants in the 117 countries where data is available. Another event will occur on March 20th, celebrating World Happiness Day at the United Nations, including a roundtable on migration co-hosted by CIFAR.
“The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born,” said Helliwell who is also a Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of British Columbia.
“Although immigrants come from countries with very different levels of happiness, their reported life evaluations converge towards those of other residents in their new countries,” said Helliwell. “Those who move to happier countries gain, while those who move to less happy countries lose,” though the adjustment of happiness is not complete, as migrants still reflect in part the happiness of their birth country.
The countries with the happiest immigrants were not the richest countries, but instead the countries with a more balanced set of social and institutional supports for better lives. Canada was ranked the fourth most accepting country for migrants, “building on a long history” as a receiving country for migrants.
For the top five countries, four of which have held the first-place position within the past five years, the average 2015 share of the foreign-born in the resident population is 14.3 per cent, well above the world average. For the countries in 6th to 10th positions (including Canada) in the 2015-2017 rankings of life evaluations, the average foreign-born share is 20 per cent.
The ten happiest countries in the overall rankings are also among the highest ranking countries for immigrant happiness:
The report, produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) with the support of the Ernesto Illy Foundation, is edited by Helliwell; Richard Layard, co-director of the Well-Being Programme at LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance; and Jeffrey Sachs, director of SDSN Policy.
CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.