Top Countries Ranked by Happiness

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    Denmark >> 7.693

    copenhagen denmark shoreline

    The Danes are statistically the tallest nation on earth, and also the happiest. This little country on the North Sea is doing a lot of things right.

    If Scandinavia could be counted as its own separate region of the world, it would blow the rest of the world’s averages away as far happiness. There have been many studies looking into what attitudes and legislation have led to such a euphoric state in these regions, and many tourists and travelers go to places like Denmark every year to enjoy the richness of the country. But why does Denmark hold the enviable title of the world’s happiest country? In the World Happiness Report, Denmark ranked highest in social support, which was even higher than its GDP per capita score. Denmark’s generosity score was also very high, giving it a rank slightly above the other Scandinavian countries. Strong in every area, Denmark is an all around good place to be happy.

    Norway >> 7.655

    Norway Alesund

    Epic fjords and wild coastline, the home of Vikings and a very complex language, it is a happy thing to be Norse.

    Falling in just behind Denmark, Norway scored very high in overall wellbeing and life expectancy. Like the other Scandinavian countries, has very little government corruption. It might also help that Norway has been called the most beautiful and captivating place on earth. Add to that a low unemployment rate, good healthcare,  and some really strange foods, and you have a pretty fantastic place to live. A leader in justice and law and also in renewable energy technologies, Norway is number two on the list for good reason.

    Switzerland >> 7.650

    Switzerland Luzern

    The Swiss have pursued the good life in the same way they do for anything else – only the best is good enough.

    Switzerland seems as happy as a well maintained Swiss clock. The only country to break the Scandinavian run for every top 5 happiest country. Switzerland ranks high in overall wellbeing; the Swiss feel that they have a lot of freedom to make their own choices, trust their government, earn enough money to be generous, and enjoy being fit and hiking in their fantastic mountainous terrain. With a very strong cultural identity and sense of camaraderie, there is no stopping Switzerland from being one of the happiest places on earth.

    Netherlands >> 7.512

    Netherlands Amsterdam

    Source: Flickr- David Stanley

    Such a center for art and culture has picked up some good habits over the centuries to become a fantastic place for the best of modern living.

    The epitome of the western European cosmopolitan country. Famous for iconic cities like Amsterdam and for being a center of art, history, culture, and all those pictures of windmills and tulips on calendars. A small country, but as far as the world happiness index is aware, one of the best in terms of how happy people who live there are. Tying only with England as the most generous countries in Europe, people in the Netherlands definitely feel that they have enough good in their lives to want to share it around the world. And why not? Being the 4th happiest country in the world, who wouldn’t want to learn a thing or two from the Dutch.

    Sweden >> 7.480

    Sweden Stockholm

    There is apparently nothing like great expanses of near arctic climate and awe invoking nature to make you appreciate life, Sweden has that and much more.

    And back to Scandinavia- The Kingdom of Sweden comes in at 5th place because of astonishingly high social support and life expectancy scores. Maybe happiness is also contagious and coming to Sweden via its neighbors and the underwater car tunnel to Denmark. However its happens, Sweden is an enviable place to live with healthy people who live long and have lots of freedom to live the way they deem best. There is also plenty of space to live exactly the way you want in Sweden because of the low population density. Also known for stunning natural beauty and thriving cultural identity, Sweden deserves to round out the top 5 of the happiest countries on earth.

    Canada >> 7.477

    Canada Yaletown Vancouver BC

    The old stereotype that Canadians always find a way to be cheery might not always be true – but it turns out they really are some of the happiest people.

    Canada is one of only three countries in the Americas to make it into the top 15, it is known for being a place with low crime rates (less than half the murder rate of the United States), lots of open spaces and natural beauty, and also thriving metropolitan culture in the large cities. Having low government corruption and very good health, this study found the Canadians to be a generous and satisfied bunch of northerners. Turns out there’s a lot more than politeness to be enjoyed in Canada.

    Finland >> 7.389

    Finland Helsinki two girls cycling in the city

    With one of the most complex major languages, if you can say you are happy about your life in Finnish you really will have something to feel good about.

    Back to Scandinavia once again. A country of natural beauty, historic stone cities, home to the Laplanders and their reindeer herding and forests filled with blueberries, it would be hard to be unhappy in a place like Finland. As long as you can put up with the dark days of winter; it appears that the Fins have managed to more than compensate for a very cold half of the year with very good levels of satisfaction in every field. They have a history for being considered a happy nation and in the UN’s study they have a high residual happiness score.

    Austria >> 7.369

    Austria Vienna

    Some good music and some dancing shoes and hearty German style food, no one can stand being unhappy in Austria.

    With a score almost tied with Finland’s, Austria is the happiest landlocked country in Europe. The entire country is steeped in history and has often been a center of world culture, especially in the arts, music, and architecture. Today it carries on those traditions and is still home to some of the world’s premier orchestral performances and is a constant tourist destination for its intriguing ancient cities and natural beauty. The people of Austria value health, are ecologically conscious, feel strong cultural ties, and love their language and history, making it an idyllic place to be.

    Iceland >> 7.355

    Iceland Blue Lagoon

    They only call it a land of ice to keep people off their well kept secret of a fantastic place to live.

    A hidden gem and island of well being. Tourists coming back from the foreign and slightly forbidding sounding capital of Reykjavik have only good to say. Bursting with thermal energy, it turns out that practically anything can be grown in this “land of ice.” With a thriving local culture that loves small music scenes, coffee and spas, this is one of the only places in the world where you can sit back in a comfy cafe and watch the northern lights out your window. In a place that is by nature isolated, camaraderie, and social support is very strong, as is an emphasis on healthy living. Being number nine on the happiest places list just makes Iceland more of an intriguing place to go.

    Australia >> 7.350

    Australia Sydney Opera House Central Business District

    Kangaroos, koalas, platypuses, and more deadly creatures than anywhere else on earth, there is no reason not to be happy in Australia.

    The land down under is apparently the place to be. An all around good bunch, the Aussies did well in every category of the study. In general they trust their government, live long, satisfied lives, feel supported by friends and community, give generously, and earn enough. Being home to some of the best beaches in the world and stewards of some of the world’s natural treasures such as the great barrier reef doesn’t hurt either.

    Israel >> 7.301

    Israel Tel Aviv Beach

    Among the happiest nations on earth, perhaps there are some ancient Jewish secrets to living long satisfied lives.

    The current stereotype of Middle Eastern countries makes it seem unlikely that Israel would come in as a happier country than most countries in western Europe, but in fact, Israel rates very high in all areas of happiness. Israel is a country with a low crime rate (a quarter of the rate in the United States), and a place where citizens feel very secure walking outside at night (it is actually the 10th safest place in the world to be out and about past dark). The UN’s study revealed a nation with a remarkably strong cultural identity, a high value placed on long and healthy living, and a history of being a happy nation.

    Costa Rica >> 7.257

    Puntarenas Costa Rica

    It is a happy thing to be green. One of the most environmentally friendly countries on earth also happens to be one of the happiest.

    Meaning “Rich Coast” in Spanish, Costa Rica is a place of natural riches and great beauty, as well as riches in terms of good living. It is one of the few modern countries that decided to abolish its standing army, and since 1949 has had no reserve military. Development programs have been incredibly effective in Costa Rica and the country has benefited from tourism, especially eco-tourism that protects its natural wonders. Today it is considered one of the greenest countries on earth and has consistently put sustainability at the top of its priorities. The people of Costa Rica also feel strong cultural ties with each other, and benefit from a long period of peace and forward movement. It is a good time to be Costa Rica.

    New Zealand >> 7.221

    New Zealand Auckland

    Once a land of sheep, then the land of Middle Earth, now a land of great prosperity, there are plenty of reasons to be happy in New Zealand.

    Another island of the good life, New Zealanders have a lot of trust in their government, they give generously, feel free to make life decisions for themselves, earn enough, value health and being out in their beautiful natural surroundings, feel socially connected and supported, and enjoy peace in their country and with neighbors. Recently having won global attention for their sticking landscape, New Zealand is thriving on increased tourism and exports. All in all, these two little islands are rich in beauty and happiness.

    United Arab Emirates >> 7.144

    United Arab Emirates Dubai

    Who couldn’t be happy when they have the choice of living on a man made island shaped like a palm tree in the balmy Mediterranean sea?

    A very affluent federation of seven emirates, their boon of oil money has been wisely put into improving healthcare, education, and infrastructure. The UN’s study shows that it isn’t just wealth putting the UAE on the top 15 happiest nations list, because social support more than equals the GDP per capita score. The study shows that citizens of the UAE trust their government and feel free to make life choices. Being a small country that plays a big role in global commerce and finance, there is a lot more to the UAE than what meets the eye. 

    Panama >> 7.143

    Panama Panama City

    There’s no place like Panama, especially when it comes to being happy with your life and have people to share it with.

    Panama has a unique position in the world. Playing a large role in worldwide commerce through the Panama Canal while also holding incredibly rare flora and fauna in its jungles, the people are in general happy and enjoy a growing economy. Citizens of Panama are the largest per capita consumers in central  America, and yet in terms of happiness, they derive much more satisfaction from cultural and social interaction and connection than from their salaries. People in Panama value health and have a long life expectancy, meaning that they can expect to enjoy the sun and their fantastic country for a long time.

    With representatives from all over the world, this list shows that happiness comes in many forms. From the wintery lands of Scandinavia that are bursting with a warmth all their own of culture and new ideas, to the sunny climes of central America where growth and positivity are making new strides, life long well being and satisfaction can pop up in places you might never have thought to look. So get a view of some of the happiest places to live with this list from the UN’s World Happiness Report.

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