The World’s Happiest Countries

RANK
(BY % THRIVING)
COUNTRYREGIONPERCENT
THRIVING
PERCENT
STRUGGLING
PERCENT
SUFFERING
DAILY
EXPERIENCE
1DenmarkEurope821717.9
2FinlandEurope752327.8
3NorwayEurope693107.9
4SwedenEurope683027.9
4NetherlandsEurope683217.7
6New ZealandAsia633527.6
6Costa RicaAmericas633528.1
8SwitzerlandEurope623627.6
8IsraelAsia623536.4
8AustraliaAsia623537.5
8CanadaAmericas623627.6
12BrazilAmericas584027.5
12PanamaAmericas583938.4
14AustriaEurope574037.7
14United StatesAmericas574037.3
16BelgiumEurope564137.3
17United KingdomEurope544427.4
18MexicoAmericas524357.7
18TurkmenistanAsia524717.5
20United Arab EmiratesAsia514817.

The five happiest countries in the world–Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands–are all clustered in the same region, and all enjoy high levels of prosperity…..

“The Scandinavian countries do really well,” says Jim Harter, a chief scientist at Gallup, which developed the poll. “One theory why is that they have their basic needs taken care of to a higher degree than other countries”…..

A reminder that egalitarian societies tend to have the highest levels of happiness. When our basic needs are taken care of – health care, free education, economical safety net – we are free from many of the most basic survival fears, and free to live our lives in a more meaningful and joyful way.

Take Costa Rica. The sixth-happiest country in the world, and the happiest country in the Americas, it beat out richer countries like the United States. That’s because social networks in Costa Rica are tight, allowing individuals to feel happy with their lot, regardless of financial success.

“Costa Rica ranks really high on social and psychological prosperity,” says Harter. “It’s probably things systemic to the society that make people over time develop better relationships, and put more value on relationships. Daily positive feelings rank really high there.”

And also that our connections with others are essential for happiness, and that how we organize our society and culture sets the stage for this form of happiness.

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