Every year The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network publishes the World Happiness Report. Polling people from over 150 countries, the report is taken seriously by many Governments and NGO’s. Interestingly it is starting to be seen as a better measure of a countries development rather than just GDP. So, what are the ten happiest countries on the planet and what makes them so happy? Read on and find out.
Perhaps due to being able to celebrate Christmas on the beach in beautiful warm weather, Australians are ranked the tenth happiest people in the World. More likely it’s because 73% of them have a paid job and a life expectancy of 82 years. Either way, it’s smiles all around in the Antipodes.
9. New Zealand
New Zealand’s epic landscape mirrors its epic levels of happiness. There are a host of reasons why the Kiwi’s are so chuffed. High levels of employment and living standards are coupled with outstanding levels of education and good life expectancy. Perhaps most telling is the sense of engagement with average turnouts at elections at around the 77% mark. For these reasons and the fact they have Fjords, New Zealand certainly has something to sing and dance about.
The home of ABBA seems rather pleased with itself too. In the first of many Nordic countries to feature in this list, Sweden reports high scores in all of the main categories. However, most significant is the amount of hours being worked. Only 1% of the population work long hours, leaving plenty of time to enjoy a veritable smorgasbord of good living.
The Dutch are famed for their liberal attitudes and wooden footwear. We are not sure if there is a link, but they are generally upbeat about life. Certainly, the high literacy rates, strong social bonds and once again, low working hours contribute to Dutch joy.
Finland, Finland, Finland. The country where I want to be. Pony trekking or camping, or just watching TV. Palin may have a point. At number 6 in the World, Finland is certainly not a “A poor second to Belgium”. Polls cite strong social ties and high levels of life satisfaction as the reasons behind the high ranking. Getting naked with strangers and light flagellation notwithstanding.
The Canadians certainly know what it’s all aboot. Getting to number five in the World is no mean feat. Major factors of contentment are low crime rates and high levels of health. With 92% of those polled having someone they could rely on in a time of need, they certainly have buddies, pal.
Yes it’s yet another Nordic country. It seems that since leaving looting and pillaging behind, the Vikings really are a happy bunch. Key factors are life work balance, feelings of safety and general life satisfaction. Of course there are also the Fjords, Fjords make everyone happy – just ask New Zealand.
Continuing the tradition of happy Vikings is Denmark. This should come as no surprise as Denmark is the home of bacon. That said, there are many reasons why the Danes are smiling, despite (or perhaps because of) paying the highest rates of tax in the World. Civic engagement, work life balance and through the roof levels of life satisfaction are just a few. Must be all that bacon.
With the Ten Happiest Countries list starting to look like the results of The World’s Strongest Man Finals, it makes sense that Iceland is number two. The land of fire and ice has not been perturbed by the recent financial crisis. In fact, they are laughing all the way to the bank. The top three reasons behind their mirth are low crime rates, strong community and general levels of satisfaction. This is despite rancid shark being a local delicacy.
A surprise new claimant to the number one title, Switzerland is officially the happiest country in the World. Questionable banking ethics and a penchant for chocolate could be the reasons why. Although high standards of living, strong community ties and World class healthcare probably have more to do with it. We also shouldn’t forget that the Swiss have been neutral since declared themselves so to the World in 1525. Their flag is a big plus too.