In Finland, a relatively equal society, people are reluctant to decide to “hold back the Joneses”.
“People often do quite well in social comparison,” said Antti Kaupinen, a professor of philosophy at the University of Helsinki. “This starts with education. Everyone has a good education. The differences between income and wealth are relatively small. ”
Austrian architect David Pfister, who lives in the Helsinki suburb of Ulunkila, said he would describe the Finns as content, but if they were happy, it was difficult to say. “The newborn increased our happiness,” said his wife, teacher Verea Yliniem. Another man in the same suburb, 49-year-old Anna Berlin, said she was quite happy. “I have a job,” he said. “The main things are fine.”
In Finland, people also have realistic expectations about their lives. But when something in life exceeds expectations, people will often act humbly, preferring to joke and brag, says Sari Poyhonen, a professor of linguistics at the University of Yavaskila. According to him, the Finns are in favor of keeping their happiness a secret.
This year, the report received little attention in the Finnish media. “Finland is still the happiest country in the world,” began a short article in the Ilta-Sanomat daily.
All 10 countries in the top 10, including the other four Scandinavian countries, have different political philosophies than the United States, number 14 on the list, behind Ireland և ahead of Canada. Dr. Wang says low levels of happiness in the United States may be due to social conflict, drug addiction, lack of access to health care, and income inequality.
Not everything is perfect in Finland. As in other parts of the continent, far-right nationalism is on the rise, with unemployment at 8.1 percent, higher than the EU average of 7.5 percent.