Finland tops world happiness ranking

Happy mature woman drinking coffee and raking autumn leaves in backyard

Finland topped the ranking of the world's happiest countries for the second year in a row, with the Nordic countries taking the leading spots, an annual survey issued on Wednesday showed.

The UK took 15th spot, one place about Ireland.

South Sudan came last in the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network's 2019 World Happiness Report.

It ranked 156 countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

Taking the harsh, dark winters in their stride, Finns' happiness is boosted by access to nature, safety, affordable childcare, free education and heavily subsidised healthcare.

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Finland and famous Finns
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Finland and famous Finns
Three young woman resting in sauna
The Northern Lights above snow covered pine trees in winter, Lapland, Finland.
ALBERT PARK, VIC - MARCH 17: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Valtteri Bottas enjoys the champagne at The Australian Formula One Grand Prix on March 17, 2019, at The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Albert Park, Australia. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scenic summer view of the Old Port pier architecture with ships, yachts and other boats in the Old Town of Helsinki, Finland
Husky dogs are pulling sledge with two young girls at winter forest in Poland.
Kimi Raikkonen of Finland participates in the drivers parade ahead of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 17, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia (Photo by Morgan Hancock/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Rovaniemi - December 16, 2017: Santa Claus village of Rovaniemi, Finland
Crowded Aleksi street, Helsinki, Finland
Norway, Bergen - April 29, 2019. The Finnish DJ and record producer Darude performs a live concert during the We Love the 90s show at Bergenshallen in Bergen. (Photo by: Gonzales Photo/Jarle H. Moe/PYMCA/Avalon/UIG via Getty Images).
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) dancing above Glass Igloos in Lapland, Finland.
Uspenski Cathedral is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Helsinki, Finland, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, was built in 1862-1868
Tranmere's Chris Greenacre and Liverpool's Sami Hyppia compete for the ball (Photo by Stephen Pond - EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images)
Two girls in sauna.
Young adult man enjoying sauna.
Northern Finland, Lapland
Man after bathhouse in winter
This picture shows how Helsinki city look from drone. The aerial view of helsinki shows thats it look vey colorful from sky.
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The top 10 was again dominated by the Nordics, with Denmark, Norway and Iceland taking the other leading spots followed by Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria. The United States dropped one place to 19th.

"This year's report provides sobering evidence of how addictions are causing considerable unhappiness and depression in the US," the network's director Jeffrey Sachs said in a statement, adding that they were referring to addictions in many forms from substance abuse to gambling and digital media.

Among the 20 top gainers since the 2005-2008 average ranking were 10 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, five in sub-Saharan Africa and three in Latin America, while the five that fell the most were Yemen, India, Syria, Botswana and Venezuela.

Benin saw the largest gain over that period, rising 50 places in the rankings.

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