Israel is the ninth happiest place in the world to live, according to this year’s World Happiness Report.

The 158-page listing for 2022 was published on Friday. Israel is two spots higher than last year and five spots higher than in 2020 when it was ranked at No. 14.

Finland came in first for the fifth year in a row, followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands. New Zealand was on the heels of Israel at No. 10.

Afghanistan placed last at No. 146.

The report largely focuses on the countries’ management of the coronavirus pandemic and citizens’ trust in their government and other institutions throughout the crisis.

“COVID-19 has also demonstrated the crucial importance of trust for human well-being,” noted the report. “Deaths from COVID-19 during 2020 and 2021 have been markedly lower in those countries with higher trust in public institutions and where inequality is lower.”

For the first time, the index also evaluated the happiness content of printed text, including on social media, through the use of machine learning.

The report analyzes several factors to rank countries. These include a country’s GDP; citizens’ life expectancy; trust in institutions and perceptions of corruption; the ability for people to exert their freedoms; and the overall experience of balance and harmony.

This is the 10th anniversary of the report, a program of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It is written by a group of independent experts.

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