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Israel ranks as the world’s fourth-happiest country, according to annual UN World Happiness Report

The ranking was based on GDP per capita, life expectancy, individual freedom, corruption levels, health and other factors

Israelis dancing on the boardwalk at the beach in Tel Aviv, Dec. 2, 2022. (Photo: Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The State of Israel climbed to fourth place among the world’s happiest nations, according to the latest United Nations World Happiness Report. 

The annual report is based on international life-evaluation data from the Gallup World Poll, conducted in 137 countries and territories. Finland ranked once again as the world’s happiest country, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Israel. 

The Gallup poll evaluated several factors in its assessment, such as GDP per capita, life expectancy, individual freedom, corruption levels and health. 

Unlike the top three “happiest” countries on the list, which were Nordic nations that all enjoy political and economic stability, Israel’s impressive ranking materialized despite the Jewish state’s many current internal and external challenges.

In fact, Israel’s happiness ranking has climbed in recent years, a period characterized by successive Israeli elections and societal divisions. The Jewish state ranked 12th happiest in 2021 and ninth happiest in 2022. 

Anat Fanti, a Ph.D. candidate in Science, Technology and Society at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University and the author of “Happiness in Demand: The Co-production of Happy People, Happy Organizations and Happy States,” attributes Israel’s high happiness ranking to the country’s alleged quick post-pandemic financial recovery. 

“A vibrant economy is a key factor when it comes to how citizens perceive the level of satisfaction in their lives,” said Fanti. “Life expectancy and level of social support also help explain Israel’s high marks.” 

The 2023 report is based on data that Gallup collected in 2022. 

Fanti said she believes that “the level of hope and optimism among some populations [were] a result of the broad unity government,” referring to the former Israeli government, led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. 

It is unclear how the current political and judicial turmoil in Israel will affect its ranking in the 2024 report. Fanti said she believes that if polls were taken today amid the judicial reforms controversy, “its results would be different and Israel’s ranking would have been harmed.”

The United States climbed to the 15th “happiest,” while France fell from the 20th to the 21st spot. The top 20 spots were dominated by affluent Western democracies. 

Afghanistan and Lebanon, two societies in economic and political free fall, ranked as the world’s most unhappy countries. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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