The 20 Happiest Countries in the World

The world is a strange place, filled with both happy and unhappy people.  Well according to the 2013 World Happiness Report by Columbia University’s Earth Institute some countries are happier than others.

People can be happy (and unhappy) just about anywhere in the world, but the odds of them being happier are greater if they live in one of several Northern European countries, according the 2013 World Happiness Report by Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

The five happiest countries in the world are (in order) Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, concludes the survey of 156 nations conducted from 2010 to 2012.

The Earth Institute said six metrics were responsible for more than three-quarters of the final scores: healthy life expectancy, social support, real GDP per capita, generosity, freedom (or perceived freedom) to make choices about your life, and freedom from corruption.

Here’s the rest of the top 20:

6. Canada
7. Finland
8. Austria
9. Iceland
10. Australia
11. Israel
12. Costa Rica
13. New Zealand
14. United Arab Emirates
15. Panama
16. Mexico
17. United States
18. Ireland
19. Luxembourg
20. Venezuela

Note that the U.S. is ranked below Mexico, a country many Americans won’t travel to because of drug-cartel violence.

Well, clearly the Earth Institute didn’t give enough weight to incarceration rates, gun ownership and increasing income disparity — things that make the U.S. the best country in the world to many people (and corporations, which also are people)! The report also appears to overlook the benefits of corruption. Hopefully they’ll tweak the formula for next year.

The nations with the lowest happiness scores — Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo — all are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Many thanks to IT World for story contributions and a hat tip to my friend James Smith.


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Posted by on September 13, 2013. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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12 Responses to The 20 Happiest Countries in the World

  1. James Smith Reply

    September 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

    But, but, those countries at the top of the list are (gasp) SOCIALIST!

    Isn’t that the same thing as godless communism? Also, they are some of the most secular countries on earth. The proves they are godless commies!

    • Jennings Hartman Reply

      September 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

      I wouldn’t exactly call the happiest countries socialist James, they are definitely Social Democracies. The governments invest in infrastructure, i.e. health care, education, roads and bridges, so that the people and private business can thrive without being impeded by things that drag a society down, i.e. expensive health care and education and crumbling roads and bridges.

      • James Smith Reply

        September 13, 2013 at 10:34 am

        Yes, you are right about being Social Democracies. They have freely-elected governments. The confusion n the USA is due to McCarthy-era politics of fear and the fact that there has never been a communist government anywhere except for a few months after the 1917 Russian revolution.

        Totalitarian governments have used the words, “Communist” and “Socialist” to conceal what they were really doing. The American politicians bought that and then sold it to the gullible public.

        Having lived in The Netherlands and visited many of those other countries listed, I can personally testify that you are correct in all aspects of your post.

      • Quinn Reply

        September 13, 2013 at 12:11 pm

        Well said and accurate in every aspect.

  2. Bill Formby Reply

    September 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I have always found that the happiest and most stable countries are those are those where the weather is the coolest. I am not sure why but the warmer the climate, it seems, the less stable the government and the less happy the people are.

    • James Smith Reply

      September 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      You may have a point. I’ve lived in many places and Brazil has a better climate than anywhere else I have been. But the government here is stable, people are generally happy and feel secure enough to protest absurd government failings without fear of being shot or even arrested.

      As with anyplace else, there is the vandal element that likes to use a protest as an excuse to justify destroying property and engaging in criminal acts that they are afraid to do under other circumstances. That was evident in the recent protests. Everything was peaceful for a time, then the asshole element moved in and started setting fires and destroying property.

      • Michael John Scott Reply

        September 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm

        James I hate to hear that, because it happens in the US on a regular basis and I think that sets the tone for a deteriorating society. It all makes me rather sad actually.

        • James Smith Reply

          September 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

          I know exactly what you mean. I hope t isn’t a sign of deterioration here. I have to remember that t wasn’t that long ago that Brazil was under a military dictatorship that many here still refer to as “anos de chumbo” (Years of lead). No one was protesting anything in those days, at least not publicly.

          In the intervening decades, a lot of progress has been made politically, economically, and socially. That could be a good example of why dictatorships are uniformly so bad.

  3. Quinn Reply

    September 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    It’s my understanding that more crime is committed in warm weather. I don’t know if this is because there are more people out and about when the weather is warm, or if there’s something else going on.

  4. Jess Reply

    September 13, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    This is why I don’t venture out of the People’s Republic of Jent very often. That is the hubby and my name smooshed all together. We find things great in our little are of the planet. I get more disillusioned everyday about the greater world outside us and find there is just nowhere you can go, that will give you more than you have, as far as contentment goes.

  5. Norman Rampart Reply

    September 14, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Clearly this explains why the Brits have become a nation of miserable buggers and Mr Angry’s. We’re probably 99 😉

    • Anonymous Reply

      September 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

      Well I don’t care – we’re (UK) still the best country in the world! Anyway on what basis do they base ‘happiness’ ?

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