The 20 Happiest Countries in the World
Although the Declaration of Independence declares our inalienable right to “the Pursuit of Happiness,” the United States didn’t even make it into the top 10 in this year’s World Happiness Report. Here is the countdown of the world’s 20 happiest countries.
20. United Arab Emirates
The 2018 World Happiness Report is a landmark analysis and survey of happiness by country. The Report also looks at the 156 countries’ immigrant populations, analyzing their happiness with their move. Why? For one reason, the immigrant population’s satisfaction mirrors the happiness of the locals.
Considering the UAE has an official Ministry of Happiness, this ranking may seem a bit low. This government body has a stated mission: “To have happiness and positivity as a lifestyle and the higher purpose of government work in the UAE.” They may be 20th on the World Happiness Report, but according to Khaleej Times, the UAE is the top happiest country in the Arab world. Highly diverse, this small country is known for its wealth and modern architectural wonders. Check out these 26 secrets to happiness from notoriously happy people.
19. United Kingdom
Comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom is technically a state, made up of four countries. It’s an economic and military powerhouse and a significant cultural influencer. The United Kingdom’s population is perceived as being more stalwart than happy, but people here have a lot to smile about. Employment figures are up, as are people’s perceptions of their significant relationships, according to Quartz Media. Plus, they have amazing television shows.
18. United States
This year saw the States tumble four spots, from number 14. According to the World Happiness Report authors, this is due to multiple public health crises affecting the country, including opioid addiction, major depressive disorders, and obesity. Even so, there’s no place like home. America has one of the most diverse populations of any country, a mix that produces incredible art, entertainment, and innovation. Check out the 10 nicest places in America in 2018.
This small rural country is filled with natural parks and fairytale castles. A recent study, reported in GEO, ranked Luxembourg’s capital city as one of the most relaxed cosmopolitan areas in the world. The green space, low-density population, and a calm national character support the positive mood. Here are some ways to be happier without really even trying.
Despite deepening concerns about terrorism, Belgium continues to rank alongside its closest neighbors in happiness. Belgium boasts a good work-life balance, better-than-average incomes, civic engagement, and excellent education. Belgians also ranked high on their social support networks.
Boasting low unemployment and a thriving economy, Germany scored high in life satisfaction, according to Quartz Media. And then there’s Germany’s energiewende—a model of how energy use can be transformed to help ward off climate change. As a result, the country is leading the way on renewable sources for electricity like wind and solar power.
Life expectancy in Ireland has climbed considerably since 2000. Social services have also been expanded to better care for those in need. Ireland also welcomes immigrants—the country ranked 11th on the World Happiness Report’s list of most tolerant countries.
13. Costa Rica
Considered by some to be the healthiest place on earth, Costa Rica is home to the Nicoya Peninsula, one of the world’s few “blue zones“—a place where people have the longest life expectancy; many residents live well past 100. Others make it to a ripe old age without serious illnesses. Families and friends live and work in tight-knit circles. Costa Rica was demilitarized decades ago, and its national military headquarters were converted into an art museum. Funds once spent on fighting are now reserved for environmental preservation, healthcare, and education.
Austria moved up one spot in this year’s report, perhaps in part because unemployment is so low and the population is well educated: 85 percent of adults have achieved a secondary education or higher. But what really sets Austrians apart is a strong sense of community and civic duty—75 percent of Austrians vote. Don’t miss these 23 instant mood boosters you’ll want to make a habit.
With one of the highest life expectancies in the world, Israel achieves this enviable goal through a common-sense health care system that is both accessible and cutting edge. Despite problems along its borders, Israel has recently taken in a large number of Russian immigrants who report higher rates of happiness in their new country than in their old.