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Happiness Around the World

Is it possible to compare countries in terms of how happy its people are? Would you like to know how happy your nation is? Discover some interesting results in the links to the studies below.

The (un)Happy Planet Index


The first well-being measure that combines human happiness and longevity with environmental impact and ecological efficiency. The results show that island nations tend to have the highest scores in both overall ranking and by region. Whereas most Eastern European and African nations have the lowest scores. Interestingly, the world's largest economies appear in the middle to bottom part of the world list. These nations are wealthier but are not as happy and are also less environmentally friendly. You may believe that an island lifestyle is what makes these people happier. But have you ever considered how a simple lifestyle (due to both economic and environmental constraints) contributes to a happier living? Maybe there is an opportunity for us to also learn that can we lead a happy life and live in harmony with the environment (versus currently at the expense of the Earth). Calculate your own HPI and share it in our forum.

Happiest places on Earth based on HPI

  1st Vanuatu 99th Denmark
  2nd Colombia 108th United Kingdom
  3rd Costa Rica 111th Canada
  4th Dominica 129th France
  13th Bhutan 150th USA
  31st China 172nd Russia
  65th Switzerland 178th Zimbabwe
  81st Germany  
  Source: © The new economics foundation 2006

The World’s Happiest CounItries


The University of Michigan's World Values Survey (WVS) has compiled data on the happiest countries in the world for over twenty years. Their results are considered very authoritative by happiness researchers. Their study of over 65 countries, conducted from 1999-2001, provided two different rankings. The first ranking is based on the question “How happy are you?” While the second ranking is based on 2 questions “How happy are you?” and “How satisfied are you with your life?” These two different ways of measuring happiness have led to some happiness researchers arguing which countries are indeed the happiest. For some researches, this study confirms that money cannot buy happiness..

World’s Happiest Countries
(based on ‘how happy you are’)
The happiest:
El Salvador
Puerto Rico
United Kingdom
The least happy
Soruce: World Values Survey
World’s Happiest Countries
(based on ‘how happy’ and ‘how satisfied with your life’ you are)
1st Puerto Rico
2nd Mexico
3rd Denmark
4th Colombia
5th Ireland
8th Switzerland
10th Canada
15th USA
24th Germany
25th France
76th Russia
79th Zimbabwe
Soruce: World Values Survey

The World Map of Happiness


Adrian White, Analytic Social Psychologist at the University of Leicester, produced the first ever “world map of happiness” based on his analysis of statistical data (published by UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, the World Health Organization, the World Database of Happiness, the Latinbarometer, the Afrobarometer, and the UNHDR) combined with responses of 80’000 people worldwide. He has found happiness to be most closely associated with health, followed by wealth and then education. By showing a correlation between wealth and happiness, his study contradicts the research findings on the Happy Planet Index and the World Values Survey .

The World Map of Happiness

  1st Denmark 35th Germany
  2nd Switzerland 41st United Kingdom
  3rd Austria 62nd France
  4th Iceland 82nd China
  5th The Bahamas 90th Japan
  8th Bhutan 167th Russia
  10th Canada 177th Zimbabwe
  13th Costa Rica 178th Burundi
  23rd USA  
  Source: University of Leicester
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