What we can learn from the world's happiest country?

Onnen maa
The land of happiness

In 2018, 2019 and 2020, the World Happiness Report ranked, the World Happiness Report ranked Finland the world's happiest country, both for its total population and for the immigrants living there. The United States and the UK were placed eighteenth (fifteenth for immigrants) and nineteenth (twentieth for immigrants), respectively.

The Nordic Model has long been touted as the aspiration for social and public policy in Europe and North America, but what is it about Finland that makes the country so successful and seemingly such a great place to live? Is it simply the level of government spending on health, education and welfare? Is it that Finland has one of the lowest rates of social inequality and childhood poverty, and highest rates of literacy and education? Finland clearly has problems of its own – for example, a high level of gun ownership and high rates of suicide – which can make Finns sceptical of their ranking, but its consistently high performance across a range of well-being indicators does raise fascinating questions.

In the quest for the best of all possible societies, Danny Dorling and Annika Koljonen explore what we might learn from Finnish success and what they might usefully learn from us.

Part I The Context
1. Geography and climate
2. History amid empires
3. Economy and welfare
Part II Social Policy
4. Childhood and education
5. Mid-life and equality
6. Old age and health
Part III The Future
7. Politics and populism
8. Demography and environment
9. Success fatigue
Finland among the best in the world

On this website you find an overview of the contents of the book and selected reading samples. The figures section includes all illustrations, graphs, charts and tables that are featured in the book as well as some bonus graphics that are not in the printed edition. We have also created an animated feature for exploring the demographic development of the Finish population over the past 140 years. Further material on this website includes information about the authors and a full list of references including online links where available.

Buy the book online:

Available as Hardcover and ebook
at Agenda Publishing
Finntopia - Buy the book