The Happiest Countries in the World
Denmark takes the cake in a new annual ranking. See where the U.S. stands
Denmark dethroned Switzerland as the world’s happiest country this year, according to a new report.
The report is a product of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2012 to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development, and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. It aims to encourage countries to tackle inequality and environmental issues within their nations.
Grabbing the top 10 spots were Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. Last year, Denmark came in third place. All the same countries made the top 10 list last year as well.
The United States came in at 13, behind Austria and Israel.
"There is a very strong message for my country, the United States, which is very rich, has gotten a lot richer over the last 50 years, but has gotten no happier," economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, told Reuters.
The lowest ranking countries were Benin (in West Africa), Afghanistan, Togo (also in West Africa), Syria and Burundi (in East Africa). The report notes that Afghanistan and Syria are war-torn countries.
How did the researchers come up with the results?
“Our main analysis of the distribution of happiness among and within nations continues to be based on individual life evaluations, roughly 1,000 per year in each of more than 150 countries, as measured by answers to the Cantril ladder question: ‘Please imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?’”
On average across the world, 5.3 was the mean answer. It was 7.1 in Northern America.
The report is now in its fourth edition.
"Measuring self-reported happiness and achieving well-being should be on every nation's agenda as they begin to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals," said Sachs in a statement. “Rather than taking a narrow approach focused solely on economic growth, we should promote societies that are prosperous, just, and environmentally sustainable.”
Check out the top 53 countries of the 156 countries ranked below.
Ranking of Happiness 2013-2015 (Part 1) (Photo: World Happiness Report 2016)
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