The happiest countries in the world

Fregene sunset

Adrian White, from the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology, analysed previously published data to create a global projection of subjective well-being: the first world map of happiness.

The research is based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned 80,000 people worldwide.

The top 10 "happiest" countries:

1. Denmark
2. Switzerland
3. Austria
4. Iceland
5. The Bahamas
6. Finland
7. Sweden
8. Bhutan
9. Brunei
10. Canada

Denmark ended up at the top to "its wealth, natural beauty, small size, quality education, and good health care". At the bottom were the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Burundi.

The U.S. ended up on the 23rd place, the UK on 41, China is 82, Japan 90, and India an unhappy 125.

Here is the map of happiness around the world (the darker red, the merrier):

happy map

The original research paper can be found here.


Anonymous,  23 January, 2009 07:37  

Thanks. Maybe I should return home :-)

BLOGitse 24 January, 2009 07:59  

"...has shown meeting the basic needs of people, needs such as healthcare, education and housing, have strong effects on SWB."

In Finland where all those 3 important things are
quite ok, people are suffering depression, drinking too much etc.

In Egypt life is hard.
So much to do: stop to wasting the water, recycling, it's dirty, traffic is terrible, old/broken cars pollute the air...etc. much, much more...

But I'm happy here!

Peter 24 January, 2009 11:57  

Congratulations on Denmark!
I am sure for expats like us, the cold and dark winter weather would make it one of the unhappiest places for us, no?
I was in Copenhagen in December and could not believe the little day light there was... Well. I could believe it, but could not get used to it...

I would start drinking and feel depressed if half of the year I live in the cold and darkness, and the other half I live in the cold...

One thing i have learned, reading through the report: this was pretty much based on our Western values of happiness... I think there are other countries where people are happier, but don't have healthcare, education and housing up to Denmark's norm e.g...

BLOGitse 24 January, 2009 13:27  

Peter, you're right!
That's one reason why I like it here: more light! Even it's far too hot in Aug-Sep.

Happiness & Western values.
When traveling in India, Thailand etc. and here - people seem to be happy even if they don't have that much material as we do.
What is happiness anyway?
In West we have more than enough but always complaining...

Is it very hard for you to see people living in very poor/bad conditions vs. us complaining tiny things?
Or after working so many years in that kind of areas - do you become..."immune"?
I mean: when you start, all bad is coming into your dreams, everywhere all the time...but after some time you become more professional and can handle? your feelings...or can one? How about you?

Peter 24 January, 2009 15:08  


I think I was much more immune early on 'in the job'. Maybe having children of my own changed that... One turning point was the Kovoso crisis. The story I described in Scene of War. Thinking that girl could have been my daughter...

That is also what affects me that much in the DRC and Gaza crisis. The suffering of 'the people'... Probably the reason why I blog regularly about that.

At the moment, being based in Italy, I am not confronted with it face to face, but one day I will be reassigned to the field again, and will face it again.

That is what makes me a "passionate" aid worker, I guess. ;-)


Quail 25 January, 2009 17:49  

I'm surprised Bhutan isn't higher up the scale considering the current and former king, stand for "Gross National Happiness".

Anonymous,  28 February, 2009 13:14  

"I would start drinking and feel depressed if half of the year I live in the cold and darkness, and the other half I live in the cold.."

Get your facts correct. There's like 30 celsius in August if we get lucky. And thanks to the global warming, we don't even have cold winters anymore in southern Finland. It's going to suck in south when summers are killing people but Finland is a winner. Barely have snow right now. Besides there is as much light time in Finland than there is in France, it just is divided so that in summertime nights last two hours and in wintertime the sun is up an hour or so.

Unknown 10 March, 2009 10:56  

what is happiness?
happiness , to me, is waking up everyday to miles of ending smiles, greenery, cheap prices, good infrastructure, beaches and people from different cultures, religions and lingos living next or within each other.
After almost 20 years living as an expat in 9 countries - Malaysia is my home now. Malaysia - truly Asia.
It's a happy country but fortunately, liquor is more expensive than in the UK!

Emma 08 April, 2009 22:15  

I love Iceland. we are happy! On the international scale at least :D
Thanks for this =D

Charlie 23 April, 2009 16:24  

It's quite misleading for the author of this article to say the USA ranked 23rd in this survey. In fact they tied for 7th place with a score of 247 and appear "low" on that list because it's sorted alphabetically.

redskin 26 April, 2009 20:52  

May be they are right may be not, it depends on how they based there surveys on?
But try my tiny island.....Mauritius, education is very high and free, healthcare free and good, and housing very good not like pigeon hole and the roads a thousand time better than that of Europe.

Anonymous,  06 July, 2009 13:49  


Shenandoah bed and breakfast 17 December, 2009 14:38  

Yes,These countries are really happier and have got all the basic necessities of life and as well as all the amenities....

Anonymous,  20 December, 2009 23:06  

simple life is what leads to happiness. Worrying about money, taxes, bills, mortgage, rent, leases and more money only adds more issues in life. Life in America is very tough.

daafsd 14 January, 2010 07:35  


Anonymous,  20 February, 2010 04:26  

Canada is a very happy place. Trust me, I live here. It's chillin'.

Anonymous,  03 April, 2010 00:01  

i live in usa and work for pizza hut i make 700 a month working full time i live in an efficiency an pay 600 i cannot affort a car and dont have money for medical insurance and i am hungry no money no food only rich people are happy in america and i dont have a girlfriend and prostitution is illigal so america for me is trash.housing is too expensive in the school kids learn how to dress like rappers and crime and suicide its very hight,drinking heath attack depresion and more.

Philippine Travel Guide 11 July, 2010 07:29  

It's interesting that the Philippines is not included in the top 10. You must visit the Philippines to experience the filipino hospitality and meet the most happiest people in the world :)

Post a Comment

To avoid spamming and profanity, comments will only show up after I (manually) clear them.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Kind people supporting The Road to the Horizon:
Find out how you can sponsor The Road

  © Blogger template The Business Templates by 2008

Back to TOP