Happier than Spain, France, Italy: Czechia among world's top 20 happiest countries

The three-year timespan that the World Happiness Report covers includes the war in Ukraine, Covid-19, and inflation.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 20.03.2023 15:42:00 (updated on 21.03.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czechia is the 18th-happiest country out of 110 worldwide, according to the 2023 World Happiness Report. The report coincided with the ten-year anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly's adoption of Resolution 66/281, proclaiming March 20 to be observed annually as International Day of Happiness. 

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The World Happiness report for this year’s ranking calculated a three-year average of previous results, spanning from 2020 to 2022. The list contains over 100 countries.

The ranking showed that people living in Czechia are more satisfied with life than those in Slovakia, Poland, and Italy.

How do you measure happiness?

The report evaluated a country’s overall happiness by assessing several variables, such as GDP per capita; perceptions of corruption; freedom to make life choices; social support; and life expectancy. Czechia’s score was a total of 6.8 (out of 10). In contrast, Finland – the top-ranked nation – received 7.8.

Czechia’s strong relative GDP per capita and social support were sizable factors in placing the country within the world’s top 20. 

Staying in the same position as last year, Czechia also maintained its lead among countries in Central and Eastern Europe. It is also just two places below its neighbor and economic powerhouse, Germany. Another neighboring country, Austria, came in 11th place.

Fellow members of the Visegrád Group all performed worse than Czechia. Slovakia was placed 29th, Poland 39th, and Hungary all the way down in the 51st position.

Steady progress over the years

Czechia dropped marginally from its 2021 ranking, when it was ranked 16th. One year earlier, however, Czechia came in 19th position.

However, looking further back, Czechia’s progress in its residents’ life satisfaction is clear. In 2013 the country was ranked 39th, and in 2018 it was 21st.

A difficult year for most

Authors of the report wrote that “2022 was a year of crises, including the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, worldwide inflation, and a range, of local and global climate emergencies.” These all affected people’s happiness by adding to daily stress levels. 

However, “global increases in benevolence” – spurred by the Russian invasion of Ukraine – actually made people more satisfied. The report cited a correlation between generosity and increased levels of happiness.

Amid Czechia’s extremely elevated inflation, a drop in real household income and spending power, lengthy medical waiting times, and concern about the Russian threat, Czechia’s unchanged ranking from last year may surprise some. The report proves, however, that there is always something in life worth smiling about. 

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