Ireland falls in World Happiness Report for 2023 as rankings are revealed

Eoghan Moloney

Ireland has been ranked as the 14th happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report for 2023.

It fell one place from 13th in 2022 with a score of 6.9/10. The index uses a ranking of happiness based on an average of the past three years.

Finland is once again classed as the happiest nation on Earth, for the sixth year running.

With a happiness score of 7.8, it far outstrips all other countries. Perhaps it’s to do with the pervasion of the Finnish ‘Sisu’ way of life but their near neighbours, Denmark, occupies the second slot.

Iceland came third followed by Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, with the Scandinavian and Northern European countries dominating the top 10. The report noted the high correlation between happiness and equality in society.

Ireland ranked just above the US, which came in 15th, while the UK ranked 19th. Australia ranked 12th, Canada 13th and Lithuania entered the top 20 for the first time.

The same countries tend to appear in the top 20 year after year, with 19 of this year’s top 20 also being there last year. The exception is Lithuania, which has steadily risen over the past six years, from 52nd in 2017 to 20th this year.

The lowest ranked countries in the world are Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Afghanistan, recorded a happiness score of just 1.85.

The index measures life evaluations in terms of six key variables - GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and freedom from corruption.

Such is the level of unhappiness amongst the Afghan people, the country also had the lowest ‘happiness gap’, meaning the gap between the happiest people and unhappiest people was smallest, reflecting the widespread displeasure with life in the country under the rule of the Taliban.

Ireland had the 16th smallest happiness gap between the happiest and least happy people.

Liberia, one of the poorest countries in West Africa, had the largest happiness gap in the world.