Dec 30, 2019

The countries where happiness and misery are growing

The world's happiest countries do this a lot. Photo: TF-Images/Getty Images

It's hardly surprising that Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland top the UN's latest World Happiness report. Nordic countries always dominate such lists.

But, but, but: Some countries became much happier, and others much less happy, over the past decade. Overall, happiness increased between 2008 and 2018 in 78 of the 132 countries in the rankings (based on "how happy citizens perceive themselves to be").

  • Benin, Nicaragua, Bulgaria, Latvia and Togo saw the most dramatic rises.
  • Venezuela, Syria, Botswana, India and Yemen saw happiness fall sharply.
  • The U.S. was among the countries that became less happy. It's now 19th on the happiness list, down from 13 five years earlier.

Go deeper: The global cycle of violence, hunger and migration

Go deeper

A Davos conversation on maximizing happiness, not GDP

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

DAVOS, Switzerland — At the head table Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch and the evening's host, was surrounded by dignitaries and leading experts on a controversial science: measuring happiness.

  • Up for debate was whether governments should seek to make their citizens happy, and whether they could satisfactorily measure their success in doing so.
Go deeperArrowJan 25, 2020

The global cycle of violence, hunger and migration

Data: UNHCR; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The number of people killed in armed conflicts has fallen from a recent high of 143,409 in 2014 — the height of the Syrian civil war — to 77,392 last year, per the Uppsala Conflict Data Program.

Zoom in: That's still more people than were killed in 2009 and 2010 combined. This year's deadliest conflicts were in Afghanistan and Syria.

Go deeperArrowDec 30, 2019

The world is less free than a decade ago

Data: Freedom House; Map: Axios Visuals

A decade ago, Freedom House warned of an emerging trend: Freedom had declined around the world for three consecutive years after a prolonged period of democratization.

The state of play: That decline has continued every year since.

Go deeperArrowDec 30, 2019