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In the Backyard of Finnish Happiness – Empirical Observations from the Happiest Country on Earth

New publication takes a closer look at the statistics behind the Finnish happiness and examines the lives of the disadvantaged in a Nordic welfare state in the 2020s.

Journalists around the globe have been interested in knowing about the secret of Finnish happiness. We in value-based Diaconia University of Applied Sciences know that many things are in good shape in our society when comparing issues to many other countries. Level of happiness is one of those issues. However, we also know that there is great variance at happiness levels and Finnish stance as the world’s happiest country is not the whole truth. Therefore, a relevant and reasonable question is who are those not happy, underprivileged people in the happiest country on earth?

Therefore, we open both sides of the same coin by analysing disadvantage as well as wellbeing of people. This book examines the lives of the disadvantaged in a Nordic welfare state in the 2020s. In this book, we also evaluate how society as a whole reacts to the position of underprivileged people. We present diverse perspectives on marginalized people by using different types of information. Register data, survey data, qualitative analysis as well as experiential knowledge provide nuanced pictures of the lives of vulnerable groups of people in Finland.

Giving attention to underprivileged groups, such as immigrants, women in marginalized circumstances, those experiencing scarcity, and those needing food aid, reveals gaps in the welfare state’s safety net. There are structural holes in legislation, attitudes, and the behaviour of people in different positions – as a citizen, civil servant, or politician. The authors hope this book will broaden people’s understanding about Finnish happiness.