The Happiest Countries – The World Happiness Report 2015

How´s life? This question, usually part of our small talk repertoire when we meet friends and acquaintances, can also be used to probe our collective feelings of happiness.

People around the world were asked to rate their overall satisfaction in life on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero representing the worst possible life for them and ten the best.

This data, collected by Gallup International, has now been published in the World Happiness Report 2015 by the UN-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The report, first issued in 2012, is aimed at influencing national policies toward the well-being and quality of life among citizens, instead of purely economic agendas. It also offers insights into happiness worldwide, as the average life satisfaction is used to rank countries from happiest to unhappiest.

Additional statistics chart the reasons why countries differ in happiness, with six key variables accounting for most of the variation between nations. These variables include GDP per capita, social support networks and trust, expected lifespan in good health, the individual freedom to make relevant choices in life, personal generosity, and freedom from corruption in government and business.

The Top 10 Happiest Countries

The top 10 countries are almost the same as in 2012: only the order has changed somewhat. The happiest countries are developed western nations, with good social support networks and high societal trust.

1. Switzerland
2. Iceland
3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Canada
6. Finland
7. The Netherlands
8. Sweden
9. New Zealand
10. Australia

It probably doesn´t come as a surprise that all five Nordic countries are in the top 10, as their social-democratic model is focused on taking care of the weakest members of society, and relatively low corruption levels inspire trust in official institutions and society as a whole.

The opposite is true in the unhappiest cohort; the bottom 10, including Syria, Afghanistan, and eight Sub-Saharan African countries, are all connected by a tragic history of dictatorships, corruption, and internal conflicts.

What Doesn’t Destroy Us Makes Us Happier?

Looking at the countries that made the biggest gains in happiness, Latin America seems to be on the upswing, as there are five Latin American countries in the top 10. Happiness went up by nearly an entire point in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Chile. This is a huge increase since the gap between the happiest and unhappiest countries is only about four points.

Latin America is also the only region where the evaluations went up across all age cohorts, a stark contrast to the Middle East and North Africa, where they all decreased. The drop in the Middle East can be attributed mostly to regional unrest, but changes in the survey procedures are also partly responsible. Since 2013 Gallup has included the whole resident populations in their samples, lowering averages in Arab countries with large concentrations of guest workers.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest decreases in overall life satisfaction occurred in countries affected by economic, political or social crises, or a combination of these. The single largest drop, almost 1.5 points, happened in Greece, indicating the unraveling of social fabric following the Eurozone crisis.

The report also highlights a few countries that survived recent economic crises with very small losses in average happiness, such as Ireland and Iceland. In the case of Iceland, the recovery has indeed been so significant to earn the country second place in the worldwide top 10.

The report suggests that if the societal structure is sufficiently strong, especially in the way of support networks, overcoming a crisis can actually make a society happier. This also applies to non-economic crises, as trust and happiness actually increased in Japan´s Fukushima region after the 2011 disaster.

Besides the country rankings, the biggest takeaway from the report is the fact that trust and social support networks are a big part of overall life satisfaction, and help us to cope with crises. It’s not the threats and hardship that make societies stronger – it’s the realization that there’s always someone to lean on.

Henri Hoffren is a global adventurer and winter refugee from Finland, who’s escaped to Munich, Germany. When not rock climbing or trying out a new recipe, he enjoys reading a good book.

(Image credit: iStockphoto)

71 Responses to “The Happiest Countries – The World Happiness Report 2015”

  1. Iceland and Denmark also happens to be one of the highest consumers per capital of antidepressants.

    http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/9789264183896-en/03/11/g3-11-03.html?itemId=/content/chapter/9789264183896-38-en&_csp_=45f4df11dc99cd2019aa9aa30865f74f

  2. @Svensson:

    Thanks for the link to the OECD statistics on use of anti-depressants! I think it’s actually quite interesting.

    However, in the case of Iceland in particiular (as well as Norway, at least the northern part of the country), I’m honestly wondering how much of the consumption is due to SAD (seasonal affective disorder, a special kind of depression caused by lack of natural light in winter). SAD is one of the many reasons why I’d personally rather not live near the Polar Circle, as pretty as the Icelandic scenery is. 🙂

  3. The colder, the happier?

  4. @Cecile:

    🙂

    One might think so – but no, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Brazil, for example, are also among the top 20.

  5. And Switzerland has one of the highest rate in term of suicide per capita !

  6. @Gab:

    Suicide statistics for Switzerland are actually a bit tricky. The latest available data from the WHO are from 2010, where the country isn’t among the ten nations with the highest suicide rates worldwide. However, the rates for some of the previous years are fairly high. Now I’m wondering if they include (or exclude) assisted suicides, which are actually legal – though still controversial – for terminally ill patients in Switzerland.

  7. Is there a mistake here in your commentary?

    Latin America seems to be on the upswing, as there are five Latin American countries in the top 10.

  8. I am so glad my country, Venezuela, does not appear among the list of happiest in LA. In fact, its rulers recently declared that it is indeed so. Meanwhile, we have the highest insecurity and inflation rate in the continent and are lacking essential needs such as flour, milk, toilet paper, medicaments,-especially for chimio- soap etc and people stand in long lines for hours under the heat to get them. Just like in Cuba. This is exactly what this corrupted regime wanted,while they spend millions of dollars (a currency Venezuelans cannot get) travelling, eating and staying in luxury hotels. They simply ruined our country and over a million people, including me, have left.

  9. In my point of view, happiness differs from well-being and quality of life among citizens, which is basically what this study measures. You’re writing that most western european countries are the happiest in the world when everyone knows that depression and suicide rates are high over here. It is no secret for instance, that Denmark has one of the highest consume rates of antidepressants in the world, as well as France, etc. So, well-being and quality of life doesn’t exactly translates into happiness, you can have housing, great education and good job and so on, but if you have no-one to share it with, you’ll probably be depressed or suicidal.

    I have lived in the UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, Canada and Mexico and believe me, Latin Americans are the happiest people I have ever come across. Europeans in general have a tendency to complain about everything and being dissatisfied with their lives even when they have all this help from the government, so I disagree with this study because my personal experience has shown me a completely different reality. Individualism in Europe has often being camouflaged with loneliness and that’s why there’s so much insatisfaction around here. Besides, the western world has followed a path of putting professional life over private life, fact that makes people very unhappy and isolated.

    Anyone that has lived in both developed western nations and developing nations knows that “developed western nations” represent everything but definitively not the happiest countries on earth.

  10. @Marissa:

    You are totally right in pointing out that happiness and quality of life are two different things. However, the study did measure happiness only, but they then tried to look at several factors such as quality of life to explain their results for happiness. But in their report, they also say that such factors can never explain their results completely.

    Mexico is fairly high up on the list, for example. And if you look at other surveys, like the OCED Better Life Index, the latter also shows a high measure of happiness for Mexico, though factors like income rather lag behind.

  11. If one were to measure the indifference to the suffering of the rest world, well yes, happiness (or a simulation of it) reigns: Switzerland is a key example!

  12. @Zohra:

    Well, the study didn’t look at factors like political attitude towards foreign affairs / other countries. It just doesn’t take this into account. So, no, the happiest country isn’t necessarily the most helpful one, or vice versa.

    The only factor from this study that might touch upon this topic is generosity, i.e. people’s willingness to give to charity. But this factor wasn’t used to actually measure happiness, just to explain some of the results. Neither does it distinguish what kind of social causes people decided to donate, e.g. if they wanted to give to international aid or to their local children’s clinic.

  13. this survey is obviously skewed by values dear to the western capitalist model….most all the Europeans I know are very serious people, as compared to Latin America….I would not consider them truly happy like the many I have known in Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador. the true measure of happiness in a culture can be seen in the children. no where have I experienced happy children as much as here where I live in Ecuador. Simple people, yes….happy people, very much so….I feel sorry for those in Europe and North Smerica that buy into values that might be construed as happiness, things like security and comfort…..this is an egoic view of happiness, and to me not true happiness at all….

  14. @Louis:

    Costa Rica did really well, actually. It barely missed the top ten, and Mexico and Brazil (two more Latin American nations) are featured on #14 and #16, respectively. However, I’m afraid that Ecuador and Peru are a lot further down the list. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter any happy children there. 😉

    (I think all the survey participants might have been adults, though. This is indeed an interesting point about the sample population and the distribution of age groups…)

  15. Switzerland on the top? You must be kidding!

  16. Canada #5?

    That’s one bogus report!

  17. Actually, as of 2013, SEVEN of the top 10 happiest countries are among the world’s leading consumers of antidepressants per capita; they are, as mentioned above, Iceland and Denmark, but also Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada and Australia…
    http://www.theguardian.com/news/2013/nov/20/mental-health-antidepressants-global-trends

  18. @Sharron:

    Yes, Svensson has already linked to the OECD figures on anti-depressant comsumption, which I find very interesting. I’ve already raised a point about SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in northern countries, but there’s also the fact that depression is more likely to be diagnosed the more people have access to psychological care, the less social stigma depression carries, etc.

  19. Love Svensson reply

  20. I would not agree with this resolves. I live in Canada and do not see that this country can go for a 5th position. Try to compare to others I have been visiting and talk to …Maybe you should ask a proper people in this case not the one working for the government and other “organization” so you will have more sufficient data …Thanks, Eric
    PS ..social-democratic model in Canada is a jock …

  21. @Eric:

    As far as I am aware, the researchers did actually ask a sample population in each country they studied. Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone in a top-scoring country will be happy and satisfied with their life 24/7.

  22. Indifference to the rest of the world, combined with alcohol and anti-depressants works wonders for happiness.

  23. This is lie! Suicide and antidepressant is really high in almost all this countries!

  24. @Hernan:

    The consumption of anti-depressants has already been discussed in several other comments. However, as far as worldwide suicide rates go, several countries in Central Asia and Eastern Europe sadly top the list, according to WHO statistics.

    http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/

  25. I have lived in several countries mentioned as the happiest, but have observed the sadest persons there.
    I do not know how they measure it, but swiss are not at all happy, finish people are very depressive, no smile, no happines.

  26. That’s the reason for their happiness!

  27. It seems the list is different from site to site, in some sites the happiest countries are Fiji, Colombia, Salvador, Niger. So propably would be important to consider if people consume antidepressants as Svensson mentions.

  28. @Milane:

    Oh, I completely agree that this study isn’t the only one out there and that different surveys may have different results.

    But as far as the consumption of anti-depressants go, I wouldn’t necessarily see this as a good indicator for people’s happiness, or lack thereof. It mostly shows if a country has a well-established mental healthcare sector / if it’s socially accepted to take this kind of medication. (Doesn’t mean that anti-depressant prescriptions are without issues of their own, but that’s another matter.)

  29. -and Norway topping the list of antidepressants, depression, suisides and addiction of drugs using syringes

  30. @Henriette:

    Norway’s suicide rates are indeed among the “top” 10 worldwide (at least according to WHO figures for 2012), but they are by no means the highest. The country does have a fairly high number for drug-related deaths in the EU, though – even if Estonia and Luxembourg have even higher rates.

  31. World’s Happiest? Judging from their list of criteria, seems to me the “UN-backed Sustainable Solutions Development Network” isn’t measuring happiness at all. Instead, they probably have an agenda they want to promote, which appears to include many social programs which fits best in wealthy western countries, n’est pas? Seems to me, lots of people in the world are “happy,” even without (oh my!) the things the studies authors want to promote. It’s a shame Internations was not no my discerning about posting this. Just saying.

  32. I think happiest countries is to live for foreign people is china , why china people are friendly ,so many things to see ,cheep hotels ,many kind of food living is chipper ,have a long history ,good shopping ,each city need one week to see things.2. U.K. Have a long history country side people ferindly ,nice weather so many things to see3. Canada for foreign people lot of benefit good weather ,good food ,mediacal facility ( Vancouver,) 4. Austerlia 5.newzeland 6 U.S.A. 7. Skndinavian countries les population good for elderry people ,ice land very cold no sun shine before selecting go and visit this countries then you can send me a mail thank you ,now I am in Vancouver .

  33. Most boring top 10 this must be
    Let’s also look at the suicide rates of these countries

  34. No estoy de acuerdo, sólo miden los parámetro económicos y no toman en cuenta el mal tiempo que hace en los países nórdicos y que tienen el nivel más alto de suicidios en el mundo.

  35. There are other polls where actually Latino american countries are at the top of the scale. I think it depends on what you pay attention to.

    I think probably the other poll i mention focused on the personal perception of happiness, while the poll this article discusses about focus more on external factors.

  36. @Daniel:

    No, this survey also focused on the participant’s individual perception of happiness. However, the researchers tried to compare this with external factors to (partly) explain their results. But, yes, there are indeed several global studies on this topic, which sometimes come up with completely different results. This is by no means the only one.

    Do you, by any chance, have a link to the other poll you mention? I find this really interesting!

  37. Wouldn’t answers to such a question relate more to optimism, or to factors influencing answering positively? And other types of analysis to interpretive bias, which data was chosen? I always wonder how much these mean. The “best cities” awarded places I’ve lived in were always nice enough, not so different though.

  38. @John B:

    Good point! If you are interested in what exactly was asked, please have a look at chapter 2 of the in-depth report:

    http://worldhappiness.report/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/04/WHR15-Apr29-update.pdf

  39. Always when I see a list of countries, for sure it just includes USA, France, Finland, etc, etc. I never see included “not important” countries as Costa Rica. Don’t you think that that is why it makes think people in western countries live in the paradise, en immigrants try to move to it?
    Live is also a paradise where ever you are, it is in your head. Live in Costa Rica is much more happy than in cold, dark countries as Finland or Iceland, where people is not poor but have enough, danse salsa and merengue on the streets, has 2 ocean fronts, great nature, savety. I live in The Netherlands and can compare, people is also happy here in The NL but my opinion is that in Costa Rica people enjoy of life much more. This conclusion-list is too western oriented, too materialist.
    When many people is retired prefer to leave over-expensive, dark and boring countries to settle in bearable places, happiness is not just money http://internationalliving.com/2012/12/the-worlds-top-retirement-havens-in-2013/

  40. and switzerland is among the countries with the highest suicide rates.

  41. @gabster:

    I’ve tried to address this isssue in another comment above.

    http://blog.internations.org/2015/04/the-happiest-campers-the-world-happiness-report-2015/#comment-489956

  42. There are many good things about Sweden and it’s Nordic brothers, but it’s ridiculous to say social democracy built it. Rather, we’ve succeeded despite it!

    A large and efficient private sector (IKEA, Volvo, Ericsson, H&M, ABB, Skype, Spotify…) pays for all the goodies. Not the other way around.

    Final comment. Freedom is measured wrong here. Welfare isn’t freedom, it’s a lack of freedom. Freedom is limitation by law of government abuse of power. But the UN doesn’t like to hear that.

  43. The least happy countries also happened to be victims of the NATO and US intervention or military operations.

  44. This is hogwash…..i heard you talk about the north and the latin american countries, and then dogged subsaharans, arabs, …. and ignored asia.

    You are biased….i think your report doesn’t mean anything.

    Just lame. I am from california and live in shanghai…….we are are both happy places.

    You nordic philes are lame. smile on that. no one cares what you all think.

  45. @californian english:

    The Happiness Report actually includes all countries worldwide. For the purpose of a short blog post, though, we only chose to highlight a few results. The entire list is in the PDF here:

    http://worldhappiness.report/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/04/WHR15-Apr29-update.pdf

  46. Thanks for this study, Svensson!

    I don’t have any study to come up with but my own eperience:
    “The system” Denmark is undermined by narrow-minded thinking up to racism. The country’s diversity of flatness does definitely contain a sick health(care)system, including the abuse of antidepressiva as well as a high rate on STD’s.
    I left.

  47. @Nielsen:

    Unfortunately, the report didn’t study the state of the countries’ healthcare system or their attitude towards the immigrant population. Nor were these points included in the external factors used to (partly) explain the results for the happiness ranking. So, a good placement in this report doesn’t say anything about these social issues, alas.

  48. Hi everyone,

    Thank you for your input!

    Please note that we just chose to report on this survey — InterNations is obviously not affiliated with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network at all. We simply thought that their study might be interesting to read about and have mostly summarized the results they published.

    If you want to know more about the methodology of this study, please check out the site we have linked. The researchers discuss this quite extensively in their report.

    However, since several people have commented on this, please note that external factors (such as GDP per capita) were *not* used to evaluate the happiness among the population. Happiness was actually measured by asking a sample population in each country.

    However, researchers tried to *explain* their results by citing such factors as the wealth or quality of life in every country. But they also state quite explicitly that these explanatory factors cannot account entirely for their statistics.

    Moreover, the results in several Latin American countries are actually pretty good. Mexico and Costa Rica are among the top 15, for example.

    Hope the additional info is of interest, too!

    Best,
    Margit

  49. PS: The elevated number of suicides in Nordic countries is mostly a myth.

    The WHO has a neat online tool called the global mortality database, where you can extract the suicide rates per country. The only Nordic country among the global top 10 in 2012 is indeed Norway on #10.

    You can find the tool here, if you are interested:

    http://apps.who.int/healthinfo/statistics/mortality/whodpms/

  50. True happiness can only truly be measured in individuals, not by geographic location. What is happiness anyway? It’s unrealistic to expect to be happy all the time, as bad things happen to everyone at some point in their lives.
    Pease of mind however, can be obtained by an attitude of acceptance and humility towards the ills of the world, and by focusing more on the good and spiritual, rather than material success.
    I make this conclusion based on hard personal experiences. Surrender to what is, and peace can follow.

  51. North Europeans often seem cold and depressed to a foreigner, it takes a long time to understand the communication (fewer words and touches), but it doesn’t mean they actually are. They are just different.
    I moved from north to south and the first year I spent on trying to understand the people, which sometimes scared me (i thought many times I’m not safe). I also have friends from south living in the north and even after many years they don’t fully understand the locals emotions.
    Even my boyfriend of two years sometimes doesn’t understand when i’m happy.
    Happiness is so relative, individual and personal. In north my life was secure and it made me happy, plus a lot of free culture events that i loved. Here I live one day at a time, which is scary, but I have a lot of sun and “Me time”…

  52. @Rosy:

    That’s a good point about how happiness (and emotions in general) are expressed differently in various countries, and also perceived differently by different observers. I think this is something that can easily lead to intercultural misunderstandings.

  53. All these comments on high use of antidepressants, what’s the obvious conclusion? The anti-depressants work very well!

  54. Hi, this information may not be updated, as the 10 happiest countries listed in the Gallup Positive Experience Report 2014 are in Latin America, except for one, which is in Europe. Please see below; plus check the official link to the survey’s results:

    ŸParaguay, 89
    Panama 86
    Guatemala, 83
    Nicaragua, 83
    Ecuador, 83
    Costa Rica, 82
    Colombia, 82
    Denmark, 82
    Honduras, 81
    Venezuela, 81
    El Salvador, 81

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/169322/people-worldwide-reporting-lot-positive-emotions.aspx

  55. @Belen:

    No, this is indeed the latest World Happiness Report from 2015. But there are several related/similar studies, and I find it interesting that the results differ so much.

  56. The criteria used to rate these countries may be flawed. I am an American living in the Netherlands. And I have never been surrounded by so many sad/unhappy people in my life as I am witnessing living here. A simple hello or good morning among strangers is very seldom seen. Not saying all people in the Netherlands are not happy but so far within in the 3 years of living here I see many sad & unhappy faces.

  57. @P Fransman:

    Thanks for sharing your experience! Do you think that some of these perceptions might be due to cultural differences of how emotions are expressed in public and what counts as friendly/polite? Just wondering…

  58. So so… I love those answers.
    How many of you have lived longer than a year in Switzerland or Scandinavian countries.
    I am swiss and I am definitaley not INDIFFERENT about the world. Nore are most of my friends of acquintances. Nore do I now many which take antidepresiva or know any which has made suicide.
    Suicide rate might be high because there is a company which helps elderly and very sick to commit suicide to leave the planet without too much pain. You can call it egoistic or wrong or whatever… its the peoples choice… And choice can make happy.
    I agree that most Western European countries have a general population which complains… but they can. Not like China, Russia, Arabic or some South American counties where you are put in Jail or killed by the state for opening the mouth….

    Now to the antidepressiva… In those top countries it is possible to get them.. and the state pays for it… the other not so social countries won’t support you, hence their population needs to get it themselves somehow or not at all. Hence the official numbers are lower….

    Suicide… I would say Japan is higher… But I won’t make a research now. And depending what you find on the internet the numbers differ again….
    Anyway I know from talks to international people that suicide is again not registered in all countries as well as in most European countries. Also because it is a big shame for the family if someone close commited suicide and hence no one should know.

    So PLEASE you unhappy people which write all those comments. I was very happy living in Switzerland… And I cared a lot about foreigners.. and we spend a lot of money for help in other countries. When did you give money when Swiss citizens lost everything due to heavy rain?! Never I would guess……
    I had what I needed in Switzerland. Good Weather, Democraties, Right to open my mouth, good school system, the possibility to study or work what I want, health care, pleasure (cinema, restaurants, disco, sports etc), open minded system and oh hospitality for foreigners… But look with 25%+ Foreigner, its starts being normal that some Swiss feel a little bit overflown by them….
    I won’t open that can of worms ….

    Now Denmark…. I have a lot of what I am used to get in Switzerland here and more. But I also miss a lot what I had in Switzerland. Especially warm summers and snow in winter.
    People which are more open and spontaneaus would help as well. But then I live at the Mid- Westcoast (propably the coldest and most closed people in DK).
    I definitaley wanna go back to Switzerland or Canada.

    Never to my wifes home country Romania… The system does not work for the citizens. Oh it does if you have a lot of money. Else you stand in line for days and are treated like an a…..
    Similar experiences did I hear from South Americans.

    Now are those people happier?! Propably. They don’t complain… they can’t get easy drugs… they can’t complain what the neighbours have, as the neighbours don’t have much more… 🙂

    Sorry for the ranting… But I had it with all this ideas about Switzerland and oh…. Yeah its the Swiss Banks fault that we have a world wide crissis because we took all the bad money to be rich…
    NOT
    I have to give up all my Swiss Bank accounts because of this so calle transparency… Or I pay 60% taxes in DK.. I might have put it there in stead of paying DK taxes…. what the fuck…

  59. I am happy to see so many people questioning the results of the survey. I do think it’s some kind of propaganda scheme.

    I’ve lived in and visited many countries in the world. Now I live in Denmark and I have to say that its one of the most depressing places I’ve ever experienced. Most people here are not only unhappy, many are downright rude. When you try to smile or say hello, people look at you like you are crazy.

    There is a strong sense of entitlement here, which makes people too lazy to be social or interactive with each other.

    If they are so happy, then why is the anti-depressent usage, the suicide rate, and the divorce rate so high?

    Again, I’m glad to read the comments and see that people are not so naive to buy into this propaganda-ish survey.

  60. I think there’s something wrong here too. The researchers must be measuring the wrong metrics. They’re indicating something other than happiness. So my example (and yes I know this is not statistically significant): Well I’m from UK, and from 18 years old I lived in London (went there for university). Then I lived in Eindhoven, then Bandar Seri Begawan, then Paris, then Amsterdam, then Detroit, then Munich. During that time I’ve also worked in about 20 other countries that I never lived in. Finally three years ago I moved to Johannesburg and this is BY FAR the best place that I have ever lived. And it’s not due to an expat package. I am on a local contract. I am the poorest that I have been since I was a student. Poor to the point that I can’t afford a car, which most westerners in Joburg would think inconceivable. So yes I went from a USD 200k job in Europe to getting in combi taxis in Joburg. But I am so much happier here than anywhere else that I have ever lived. I’ve never lived somewhere where the local population are so welcoming and friendly. This is like chalk and cheese compared to the other places I lived. I can’t conceive of going back to Europe. Who cares about the E-class Merc, the 5 bed house in Starnberg. And don’t get me wrong, Munich is great. But I wanna stay here in Joburg. It is fantastic.

  61. @Robert Waters:

    No, the researchers asked about people’s happiness (positive emotions/satisfaction in life), and then they tried to use other, external factors to account for their results.

    This doesn’t mean, obviously, that your life in South Africa doesn’t make you far happier than your previous life in Europe. Statistics always cover a myriad of individual experienxces, and sometimes they outright contradict them.

  62. Magrid, I gather you are the person at InterNations that decided to post this story, correct? If yes, please try to do a better job discerning good studies and not so good studies, as well as the motives of the study creators. We are smart people here. I imagine most people here want value added articles, not articles which, to me anyway, advance some NGO’s idealized agenda, with selection criteria that supports their idealized agenda. Saying you are just reporting the article is not enough. It read like their press release. It just generates a long list of comments you could and should have anticipated. Just saying.

  63. @Santiago:

    Yes, while I didn’t write this article myself, I did approve it, and I am responsible for all content in our blog. I stand by my opinion that this would be a potentially interesting study (please note that interesting doesn’t mean above all criticism) – it certainly sparked quite a bit of a discussion, didn’t it?

  64. If Switzerland is the happiest country in the world it’s because they’re totally indifferent to the suffering, injustices and environmental disasters occurring around the world and even on their doorstep. A tax haven and racist country who won’t give Swiss citizenship to their own people, many of whom have lived there for many generations.

  65. @Claude:

    Unfortunately, the study didn’t measure a nation’s environmental politics or impact, its policy with regard to immigration or anything along those lines. Even if Switzerland were to be the happiest country on earth without a doubt, this doesn’t mean it’s some sort of utopia that should be imitated in all things.

    (And the same applies to every other country. I think the purpose of this report is to identify some things that may contribute to people’s happiness and see how this could shape some policies.)

  66. I 100% aggre with the ranking,although I would put in the first places Norway, Denmark, Vienna etc…
    The suucide rates about Nordic countries are a myth…in countries such as Greece or Russia there is a higher suicide rate.Moreover do not forget that most recently the number one country to be a mother is Norway
    http://www.medicaldaily.com/save-children-report-ranks-norway-best-country-mothers-usa-falls-33rd-331984

    So mother knows best!!!

  67. Hmmm, Netherlands on number 7…Maybe because people there are made to believe they are free. I ‘escaped’ my country because of this. Living there, to me, felt like living between four walls that moved closer and closer together as years went by and my eyes opened. A country where freedom of speech is preached and encouraged, but at the same time can get you killed. Hard to believe most Dutch would consider themselves to be happy…

  68. Bhutan is famous for measuring the Gross National Happiness in a very different way. As a result the Happy Planet Index has been developed. Looking at the Index with green Costa Rica on top and Denmark at the bottom, perhaps this is a better index as it is focussing on well-being of both mankind and Mother Earth. Have a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Planet_Index

  69. I can definately not confirm Swiss to be the happiest people, on the contrary! Depressed, cold, very reserved, money-minded. It seems the heart of the average Swiss is not within the chest, but at th back pocket. A Swiss gets aroused and emotional when talking about his belongings, earnings, and material and money related things.
    I know what I am talking about because I live in this country, but not for long….

  70. I have been to most of those coutries, most of the faces in the bus and subway were really serious, all people dressed in dark colors looking at their phones….happy? really? On the other side, in Mexico, Ecuador, Italy, people are smiling, chatting, wear colorful clothes and definitely enjoy life more….it is not all about the money…they have other values, such as family, friendship, some 1st world countries don t really seem to have anymore…

  71. I bet if every human in the World got to experience every country then had to make up their top ten, it would be somewhat different each time and would even change throughout their own lifetime. I’m just lovin’ Vancouver at the moment 🙂 J x

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