Thailand’s sad rankings in world’s happiest countries index

The annual United Nations’ happiness index appears to show that Thailand is no longer the Land of Smiles with the kingdom conspicuous by its absence in the top 50 happiest countries in the world.

Despite many other rankings including Thailand as one of the best for travellers, digital nomads, and healthcare, the UN knocked the country to 60th place, down one spot from last year.

Finland claimed the top place and continued its six-year spot as the world’s happiest country. According to Lifestyle Asia, the Nordic country is known for its enviable welfare system, low corruption and inequality levels.

Moving down the list, Ukraine improved by six levels, despite the ongoing war. It climbed from 98 to 92 this year. Jan-Emmanuel De Never, an editor of the report, says the increase could be due to an “extraordinary rise in fellow feeling across Ukraine.”

“Benevolence grew sharply in Ukraine but fell in Russia.”

He says the comradery grew in Ukraine as the war raged on, with many acting selflessly to help strangers or make donations.

Northern Europe dominated the second and third rankings with Denmark followed by Iceland respectively. Israel climbed five spots from last year, taking the fourth ranking.

Although the same countries have consistently taken the top spots each year, authorities say Baltic countries are rising quickly towards the happiness levels of Western Europe.

Lithuania was the only new country to make it into the top 20, knocking France off. While Afghanistan continued to plunge to the bottom spot as its humanitarian crisis deepened after the Taliban’s takeover.

But, it is important to know that the UN-backed World Happiness Report, is based on people’s assessment of their happiness. It also considers economic and social data as supporting factors.

The report also considers six key factors: income, health, social support, generosity, freedom and absence of corruption.

While anyone looking at those factors in Thailand can see that a few of them are strongly evidenced as being subpar. The report says it gathers evidence over three years, with the last few years seeing the Covid-19 pandemic wrecking economies and spirits.

The 20 happiest countries in 2023:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Israel
  5. Netherlands
  6. Sweden
  7. Norway
  8. Switzerland
  9. Luxembourg
  10. New Zealand
  11. Austria
  12. Australia
  13. Canada
  14. Ireland
  15. United States
  16. Germany
  17. Belgium
  18. Czechia
  19. United Kingdom
  20. Lithuania


Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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