These four countries are the happiest in the European Union

european union flag

(Sara Kurfeß, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content

  • Eurostat survey shows Europeans are happier than five years ago
  • Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria are the happiest EU nations
  • Spain has the highest share of people who claim to be happy all the time
  • Latvia, Bulgaria and Croatia are at the bottom of the EU’s happiness table

Are you happy? If so, are you happier than you were five years ago?

If you live in Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands or Austria, the answer to these questions is more than likely “yes”, according to a recent survey.

Despite the rise of populism, immigration issues, protests and political discord across large parts of the continent, Europeans are 2% happier now than they were in 2013.


Graph shows happiness levels by country
Glass more than half-full
Image: Eurostat

A Eurostat survey of 25 EU countries in 2018 found almost half of Europeans aged 16 or over felt happy most of the time, while 14% declared themselves permanently happy.

Respondents were asked to rank how frequently they felt happy in the four weeks preceding the survey, using five categories ranging from “all of the time” to “none of the time”.

Frequency of being happy across the EU, 2018
Something to smile about
Image: Eurostat

Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria shared first place as the happiest EU nations, each with more than three-quarters of the population expressing happiness either some or all of the time.

Spain was slightly below these leading countries for overall happiness, but 29% of the population claimed to be happy all the time, the highest of any nation in the survey.

At the other end of the scale was Latvia, where less than a third of the population claimed to feel happy either all or most of the time. Around 28% of Latvians reported rarely or never feeling happy in the four weeks leading up to the survey.

At the bottom of the list, after Latvia, were Bulgaria and Croatia.

People in all but three of the countries included in the research – Lithuania, Sweden and the Netherlands – felt their lives were happier now than during the previous survey in 2013.

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