Taiwan was ranked as the world’s 26th happiest nation and the happiest in East Asia in a report released on Wednesday that compared the happiness level of 156 nations, assessing factors including average life span, social support and corruption.
Other factors included income, healthy life expectancy, freedom, trust and generosity.
The World Happiness Report produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network — a global initiative launched by the UN in 2012 — found that people in Finland were the most content, overtaking neighboring Norway as the happiest place to live.
They were followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia in the top 10 nations in the report.
The US dropped from last year’s 14th to 18th place.
In East Asia, Singapore was ranked 34th, Japan 54th, South Korea 57th, Hong Kong 76th and China 86th.
The country that ranked last in the report was Burundi, preceded by the Central African Republic in 155th and South Sudan in 154th.
In addition to the report was an evaluation of 117 nations by the happiness and well-being of their immigrants, in which Finland also took first place and Taiwan was 38th.
Finland has a population of about 5.5 million people, which includes approximately 300,000 foreigners and residents with foreign roots. The majority of its immigrants come from other European nations, but it also has expatriates from Afghanistan, China, Iraq and Somalia.
Taiwan has a population of about 23.67 million people, according to Web site Worldometers, and a total of 715,938 foreigners at the start of this year, National Immigration Agency statistics showed.
John Helliwell, a coeditor of the report and professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia, said a society’s happiness seems to be contagious, as all of the top-10 nations scored highest in overall happiness and the happiness of immigrants.
The rankings were based on annual surveys from 2015 to last year of 1,000 people in each nation who were asked to rate their lives on a scale of zero for the worst possible life to 10 for the best possible life, the report’s Web site said.
Taiwan was last year ranked the 33rd happiest nation last year in the report, trailing Singapore in 26th.
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