Every year one or another Scandinavian country like Denmark, Sweden or Finland become the happiest nation in the world. Why are they so happy or are they? Let us see

UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network in cooperation with the Ernesto Illy Foundation releases lists the happiest countries in the world every year. It is correct that Scandinavian countries always rank within top 10 countries.

The reason why Scandinavian countries dominate top lists of happy nations is that those countries match the variables that is set by UN to judge happiness. UN use six variables : income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust ( absence of corruption in business and government).

The per capita incomes of Scandinavian countries are very high. Although according to IMF and World Bank, there are some other countries have higher per capita income than Scandinavian countries but those countries even USA do not have the social and economic security as Scandinavian nationals.

100% Scandinavian population are covered by social and unemployment benefits. Their basic needs are met. People do not have worry about being broke. They will be taken care by the government under any circumstances.

Health care is free in Scandinavian countries regardless how much it cost. All countries provide high standard of elderly care. People get good health care live long.

Scandinavian people are very helpful and compassionate. They help disabled and old people when they are in need even though they do not know them. People never leave people in need before real help like ambulances arrive.

People are generally generous. They donate a lot to voluntary organisations. They work free for welfare works. People are honest. I have lost my wallets several times but got it back from people who found it ,

UN measure trust by the absence of corruption. Denmark and other Scandinavian are listed as least corrupt countries by Transparent International.

Scandinavian countries are very happy countries according to criteria of UN. But many researchers challenge if these countries are really happy according to some most accepted definitions of happiness

I have worked with several voluntary organizations. With regards to my personal experiences, I have serious doubt if people here are really so happy. Denmark, Norway,Sweden and Finland havet rates of suicide and psychiatric distress that are in the top 15%-25% of the world’s nations.

One third of Danish population are lonely. Family bond is weak.

Sometimes people die alone in their homes and neighbors or family find them when their bodies are decomposed.

The rate of divorce is also high. Middle aged divorced people have hard time finding partners.

I am among many who denounce the definition of happiness that is used by UN. Scandinavian countries are very prosperous but prosperity does not always determine happiness,

Originally published at medium.com


  • A Danish business consultant and free-lance writer both in Danish and English. I also write here: Obaidul Karim Khan – Medium (https://medium.com/@karimkhanobaidul) and Obaidul Karim Khan, (https://community.thriveglobal.com/authors/6596-obaidul-karim-khan) Thrive Global. **I would be happy to contribute articles to your blog.**