(JTA) — Israel is the ninth happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report, a project of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Israel has slowly moved up the rankings in recent years, from No. 14 in 2020 to No. 11 in 2021. The report, which celebrates its 10th anniversary, says it takes into account a country’s GDP, social support , life expectancy, “freedom to make life choices”, the generosity of citizens and perceptions of corruption in its ranking.

The UN is known as a harsh critic of Israel, singling it out with continual condemnations and more critical resolutions than any other nation. Its Sustainable Development Solutions Network was founded in 2012 to advance the UN’s sustainability, poverty reduction and industry goals around the world.

Each country’s response to COVID-19 was also a factor in the rankings, the report notes. Israel was one of the first countries to successfully vaccinate a large percentage of its population.

“COVID-19 deaths in 2020 and 2021 were significantly lower in countries with higher trust in public institutions and lower inequality,” the report said.

As usual, the Nordic countries maintained their place at the top of the list, with Finland ranking as the happiest country in the world for the fifth consecutive year. Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland made the top four, with the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden and Norway the only others ahead of Israel.

Israel is the 9th happiest country in the world, according to the UN non-profit organization, appeared first on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.