(CNN) – The catastrophic loss of life and increasing uncertainty has put the world on the very edge, but there is good news for humanity: philanthropy is on the rise globally.
It is one of the key findings of the World Happiness Report, a publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network based on global survey data of people in nearly 150 countries.
Marking its 10th anniversary, the report looks at happiness around the world – the happiest nations, those at the lowest levels of the happiness scale and everything in between, as well as the factors that lead to greater happiness.
And with two years of Covid-19 pandemic data on the books, the report has uncovered something unexpected.
Donating to charity, helping a stranger and volunteering is everything, “especially helping strangers in 2021, either before the pandemic or 2020, by a huge amount in all areas of the world,” said Haliwell , who is a Professor Emeritus at the Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia.
And philanthropy is certainly top of mind as the world responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But before getting into how an increasingly global conflict can affect happiness, let’s look at countries where this sentiment was abundant in 2021.
Nordic is the happiest country in the world
Finland is the happiest country in the world for the fifth year in a row, according to the World Happiness Report rankings based on Gallup World Poll life assessments.
The Nordic country and its neighbors Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland all scored very well on the measures used by the report to explain their findings: healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support in times of crisis. , low corruption and high social trust, generosity in a community where people care for each other and have the freedom to make important life decisions.
Denmark comes second in this year’s rankings, followed by Iceland at number 3. Sweden and Norway are ranked seventh and eighth respectively.
Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are ranked 4 to 6, with Israel coming in at number 9 and New Zealand rounding out the top 10.
Canada (number 15), the United States (number 16) and the United Kingdom (number 17) all made the top 20.
People gather for drinks on a sunny day in Helsinki in June 2020. Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for the fifth year in a row.
Alessandro Rampazo / AFP via Getty Images
joy in difficult times
Another bright spot in this year’s report: Anxiety and stress subsided in the pandemic’s second year. While they were still up from 4% pre-pandemic in 2021, there was an 8% increase in anxiety and stress in 2020.
“I think part of it is that people knew a little bit more than what they were doing in the second year, even if there were new surprises,” Helliwell said.
The report said the average life assessment has been “remarkably resilient” during the pandemic, with negative and positive impacts outweighing each other.
According to the report, “For youth, life satisfaction has fallen, while for those over 60 it has risen – with little overall change.”
Halliwell acknowledged that there is a sense that crises bring out the best or the worst in society.
“But in general, people are very pessimistic about goodwill in the society they live in, so when a real disaster happens and they see other people responding positively to help others, it’s their and elevates the opinion of his fellow citizens,” Helliwell said.
“And so you trust others and general life evaluations often go up in times when you think ‘these are bad times,’ but what’s happening is that people are working together to deal with them.”
Right now the eyes of the world are on Ukraine which is ranked 98th in the ranking of World Happiness Report. Here, St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv is pictured on February 27, days after Russian troops invaded the country.
Chris McGraw/Getty Images
This interplay of negative and positive applies heavily to the situation in Ukraine, although it remains to be seen how the scales will eventually tip. Helliwell said that working together would certainly to some extent compensate for the tragedies affecting Ukrainians.
“Their heartland is being attacked, so they’re getting some oncoming effects, but of course the actual damage is terrifying.”
The impact of the war on overall happiness in Russia is particularly ambiguous because government censorship distorts information that informs evaluations of lives, he said.
The surveys were based on this year’s happiness rankings that were conducted well before the invasion. Ukraine and Russia both fall in the bottom half of the world rankings for happiness in the 2022 report, with Ukraine at number 98 and Russia at number 80.
Another report editor, Jan-Emmanuel de Neve, said: “Afghanistan is at the bottom of the ranking in the 2022 report, at number 146.” a news release.
The ongoing war in Ukraine means that happiness in other parts of the world may be diminishing as well.
“It is conceivable that some people see what war can do on their television screens every day in the lives of people who have nothing to do with war and who have nothing to do with war. can make them feel lucky they’re not there or Sympathetic to the point of pain for the people out there,” Helliwell said.
“And they are both real and understandable feelings, but they are playing on opposite sides of the balance.”
Hopefully, the growth in philanthropy – in all its forms – will continue in 2022 and beyond.
New Zealand is at number 10 in the list of the happiest countries in the world. Here, the famous lupines of Lake Tekapo bloom on New Zealand’s South Island.
Noraset Sani / Songkhla Studio / Adobe Stock
World’s happiest countries, 2022 edition
10. New Zealand
16. United States
17. United Kingdom
18. Czechia (Czech Republic)