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14 September, 2022

Ranking of countries where the happiest people live

In 2022, the UN published the World Happiness Report for the tenth time. The report shows how satisfied people in 146 countries are with their lives. According to the 2021 results, the ranking was topped by eight European countries.

We go over the places where the happiest people live and explain how to get a residence permit or citizenship by investment in the ranked countries.

Residence permit and citizenship by investment: happiest countries rank
Photo: Adobe Stock

World Happiness Report is a report and ranking on world happiness published annually by the United Nations.

Objective and subjective indicators are used when forming the ranking. The volume of GDP per capita is objective, while the results of Gallup or the American Institute of Public Opinion surveys are subjective. Surveys show how satisfied people in different countries are with their lives.

The country's ranking in the World Happiness Report consists of six indicators:

  1. GDP per capita.
  2. Social support.
  3. Life expectancy of citizens.
  4. Citizens' freedom to make vital choices on their own.
  5. Generosity, or participation in charity.
  6. Perceptions of corruption.

Each indicator is evaluated on a ten-point scale. After that, all the indicators are brought together, forming a final assessment of the country. The happier the residents of the country feel, the higher its score and place in the ranking. 

In 2022, 146 countries were evaluated for the World Happiness Report ranking.

Top ten happiest countries in 2021

RankCountryDynamics compared to 2020
10New Zealand-1 position
9Israel+3 positions
8Norway-2 positions
7SwedenUnchanged
6Luxembourg+2 positions
5NetherlandsUnchanged
4Switzerland-1 position
3Iceland+1 position
2DenmarkUnchanged
1FinlandUnchanged

The top ten happiest countries include eight European countries, with Finland leading the list for the fifth consecutive year. Austria was also in the top 10, but in 2022 the country only ranked 11th, giving way to Israel.

Singapore ranked 27th overall but became 1st among Southeast Asian countries. 

In 2021, as in 2020, life satisfaction was affected by the pandemic. Some indicators for evaluating happiness indicators have changed: the income impact has decreased, and the benefits of living together compared to being alone have increased. The level of anxiety and stress increased by 8% in 2020 and by 4% in 2021 compared to the 2019 level. 

How to obtain a residence permit or citizenship in the ranking countries

Eight states with investment programs are in the first half of the rating. Foreigners can get a residence permit or citizenship there by investing in the economy: for example, when buying real estate or contributing to a state fund.

How to get a residence permit and citizenship in the ranking countries

RankCountryProgramInvestments
4SwitzerlandSwitzerland residence permit for financially independent peopleFrom ₣450,000 per year
11AustriaAustria residence permit for financially independent peopleFrom €100,000 
24UAEUAE Golden Visa From $204,000
33MaltaMalta permanent residence From €150,000
41CyprusCyprus permanent residence From €300,000 
56PortugalPortugal residence permitFrom €250,000
58GreeceGreece residence permit From €250,000
75MontenegroMontenegro citizenshipFrom €472,000 

Switzerland grants residence permits without the right to work in the country to financially independent individuals. The investor agrees with the canton administration and pays a chord tax starting from ₣450,000 per year.

Austria issues residence permits to financially independent individuals — every year there are from 400 to 450 quotas allocated to applicants and their family members. The cost of obtaining and maintaining the status starts from €100,000 per year.

The UAE grants resident visas to investors for purchasing real estate in the country. If the property cost starts from $204,000, the investor will be able to get a resident visa for three years, and if the property is purchased for an amount starting from $545,000, it will be possible to get a residence visa for five years.

Malta offers a permanent residence permit for the purchase or rental of housing. The investor pays an administrative fee, a government fee, and a contribution to a Maltese non-governmental organization, and proves the assets worth at least €500,000. 

Cyprus issues permanent residence by investment starting from €300,000. The investor chooses from three options: purchasing either residential or commercial real estate, local company shares, or bonds.

Portugal offers a residence permit by investment starting from €250,000. The investor can choose one of eight options, for example, buying real estate or investment fund units.

Greece issues a residence permit by either purchasing residential real estate, commercial real estate, or local company shares, or by opening a deposit in a Greek bank. Minimum investment ― €250,000.

On September 10, 2022, the Prime Minister of Greece announced that the minimum investment amount under the Golden Visa program will increase from €250,000 to €500,000. The change is expected to take effect in December 2022.

Montenegro offers foreigners to get citizenship by investment: to do this, they need to buy real estate in the country and make a non-refundable contribution to the state fund. The investor's expenses start from €472,000. 

Applications for participation and getting a passport of Montenegro are accepted until December 31, 2022. After this date, the program will be discontinued.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship by investment and residence permit programs. If you want to move to one of the countries from the ranking, please consult investment program experts.

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Ranking of countries where the happiest people live