happiest-countries-in-the-world

Happiest countries in the world 2017

The happiest countries in the world have been ranked in the latest World Happiness Report. Norway has snatched the title, jumping up from 4th last year and knocking Denmark into second place.

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations, has just published this year’s World Happiness Report. The SDSN employs an international group of economists, neuroscientists and statisticians to survey citizens on their subjective wellbeing and produce a comprehensive annual list of the happiest countries in the world.

Assessing happiness

SDSN highlight that their rankings are not an index like the longer running Human Development Index (HDI) and more recent Happy Planet Index (HPI). These are often influenced by sponsors and draw only partly on self-assessment – or make no use of it at all.

SDSN stress that their findings draw heavily on data from population samples in each country, using a life evaluation survey to produce subjective wellbeing data.

That is not to say the report is without a scientific basis. Economic and social influences are considered along with the survey (namely GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption), but the focus is on how happy citizens say they are; not how happy statisticians think they should be.

The geography of happiness

Unsurprisingly, there is a strong correlation between unhappiness and the poorest and most dangerous countries. Troubled sub-Saharan African states along with Syria, Yemen and South Sudan account for the vast majority of the lowest rankings. Central African Republic is ranked the least happiest country in the world.

Rather predictably, North American and European (particularly Scandinavian) countries feature highly in the happiest countries in the world. Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland round out the top five while the US and UK are ranked 14th and 19th respectively.

Some other key headlines include:

“People in China are no happier than 25 years ago” – see chapter 3 for more information.

“Much of Africa is struggling” – see chapter 4 for more information.

“Happiness has fallen in America” – see chapter 7 for more information.

Ranking the happiest countries in the world

RANKCOUNTRYSCORE
1Norway7.537
2Denmark7.522
3Iceland7.504
4Switzerland7.494
5Finland7.469
6Netherlands7.377
7Canada7.316
8New Zealand7.314
9Australia7.284
10Sweden7.284
11Israel7.213
12Costa Rica7.079
13Austria7.006
14United States6.993
15Ireland6.977
16Germany6.951
17Belgium6.891
18Luxembourg6.863
19United Kingdom6.714
20Chile6.652
21United Arab Emirates6.648
22Brazil6.635
23Czech Republic6.609
24Argentina6.599
25Mexico6.578
26Singapore6.572
27Malta6.527
28Uruguay6.454
29Guatemala6.454
30Panama6.452
31France6.442
32Thailand6.424
33Taiwan6.422
34Spain6.403
35Qatar6.375
36Colombia6.357
37Saudi Arabia6.344
38Trinidad and Tobago6.168
39Kuwait6.105
40Slovakia6.098
41Bahrain6.087
42Malaysia6.084
43Nicaragua6.071
44Ecuador6.008
45El Salvador6.003
46Poland5.973
47Uzbekistan5.971
48Italy5.964
49Russia5.963
50Belize5.956
51Japan5.92
52Lithuania5.902
53Algeria5.872
54Latvia5.85
55Moldova5.838
56South Korea5.838
57Romania5.825
58Bolivia5.823
59Turkmenistan5.822
60Kazakhstan5.819
61North Cyprus5.81
62Slovenia5.758
63Peru5.715
64Mauritius5.629
65Cyprus5.621
66Estonia5.611
67Belarus5.569
68Libya5.525
69Turkey5.5
70Paraguay5.493
71Hong Kong5.472
72Philippines5.43
73Serbia5.395
74Jordan5.336
75Hungary5.324
76Jamaica5.311
77Croatia5.293
78Kosovo5.279
79China5.273
80Pakistan5.269
81Indonesia5.262
82Venezuela5.25
83Montenegro5.237
84Morocco5.235
85Azerbaijan5.234
86Dominican Republic5.23
87Greece5.227
88Lebanon5.225
89Portugal5.195
90Bosnia and Herzegovina5.182
91Honduras5.181
92Macedonia5.175
93Somalia5.151
94Vietnam5.074
95Nigeria5.074
96Tajikistan5.041
97Bhutan5.011
98Kyrgyzstan5.004
99Nepal4.962
100Mongolia4.955
101South Africa4.829
102Tunisia4.805
103Palestinian Territories4.775
104Egypt4.735
105Bulgaria4.714
106Sierra Leone4.709
107Cameroon4.695
108Iran4.692
109Albania4.644
110Bangladesh4.608
111Namibia4.574
112Kenya4.553
113Mozambique4.55
114Myanmar4.545
115Senegal4.535
116Zambia4.514
117Iraq4.497
118Gabon4.465
119Ethiopia4.46
120Sri Lanka4.44
121Armenia4.376
122India4.315
123Mauritania4.292
124Congo (Brazzaville)4.291
125Georgia4.286
126Congo (Kinshasa)4.28
127Mali4.19
128Ivory Coast4.18
129Cambodia4.168
130Sudan4.139
131Ghana4.12
132Ukraine4.096
133Uganda4.081
134Burkina Faso4.032
135Niger4.028
136Malawi3.97
137Chad3.936
138Zimbabwe3.875
139Lesotho3.808
140Angola3.795
141Afghanistan3.794
142Botswana3.766
143Benin3.657
144Madagascar3.644
145Haiti3.603
146Yemen3.593
147South Sudan3.591
148Liberia3.533
149Guinea3.507
150Togo3.495
151Rwanda3.471
152Syria3.462
153Tanzania3.349
154Burundi2.905
155Central African Republic2.693

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