Happy Nations #1: Finland

We have finally made it to the top of the list. Let us take a look at how Finland compares to the United States in each of the six factors for Happiness:

  • GDP: 1.892 v 1.982
  • Social Support: 1.258 v 1.182
  • Healthy Life Expectancy: 0.775 v 0.628
  • Freedom to Make Life Choices: 0.736 v 0.574
  • Generosity: 0.109 v 0.220
  • Perceptions of Corruption: 0.534 v 0.177

I did not expect a country so low on generosity to be so high on happiness. Maybe they believe their government is generous enough?

Other Scoring Systems

While it is tied with Norway and Sweden for first at FreedomHouse, Finland falls behind their Nordic brethren in many other rankings.


Finland is #22 in Healthcare Quality and #17 Overall. #3 in Health Security Index.

88% of Finnish residents are happy with their universal healthcare.

The maximum out-of-pocket fee a user can experience is ~$20.


Helsinki is Finland’s capital and the country’s largest city.

For a climate comparison, look no further than its neighbors, Stockholm and Oslo. There is less snow than in Oslo and more than in Stockholm. It is windier than both, however.

Cost of Living

As a shock, Finland is less expensive than the United States.

Comparing Saint Louis, MO, to Helsinki, we see it will cost 6.6% less to live in Helsinki.


The two main official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. About 87% speak Finnish, and 70% speak English.

Finland is 9th in English proficiency, less than other Nordic countries.

Acceptance of Others

Finland is less diverse than The United States.

Finland is better than other Nordic countries but still near the bottom of “ease of settling in.”

Only 4% of Finnish are immigrants, and about average in LGBT+ acceptance for Europe.

Moving Feasibility

You need a job, study place, or family member to move to Finland. Unfortunately, we do not have any of these. However, there does seem to be a residence permit for the self-employed, like my wife.


Finland did not blow me away as I was hoping. Instead, it seems similar to the other Nordic countries. The low cost is appealing, but there doesn’t seem like much to make it a clear leader. In addition, with such a low number of immigrants, Finland does not feel welcoming.

As I have now finished the list of the top fifteen happiest nations, I need to widdle down to a few top contenders.

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