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Happiest Countries in the World

20 Sep 2016

The United Nations, through analysis of data and conducting surveys, evaluates the quality of life of people all over the world. Published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the World Happiness Report is a measure of happiness in many countries and a list is prepared. Data is collected from people in over 150 nations.

The reports are divided into chapters that deal with matters pertaining to the happiness, such as mental illness and mental health of a country and also benefits of happiness, importance of ethics and so on.

The reporting started in 2012, with the first report released on April 1, 2012, and the list has been dominated by the same 13 counties since then. The measure of happiness is based on GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, trust or absence of corruption.

As in 2016, the list of the happiest countries in the world is as under:

Overall Rank



Change Over
Prior Year






























 New Zealand












Data source: Wikipedia, National geographic, CNN


As stated earlier, these countries have come out to be the happiest countries because they have longer life expectancies, have more social support, have more freedom to make life choices, have lower perceptions of corruption and more trust, experience more generosity, experience less inequality of happiness and have a higher gross domestic product per capita.

However, even though Denmark does not rank in the top 10 in terms of GDP, the country has bagged the first rank in happiness.

What is the secret behind the happiness of these counties? How have they become the happiest countries of the world?

Let us take the example of Denmark. Danes support their parents, better than many other countries. Health care is a civil right and serves as a source of social support. A feeling of responsibility towards each other, gender equality are some of the facilitators of Denmark’s happiness report.

It is rather unfortunate that the country with highest happiness index suffers mental illness as much as others. The mental health problems are as common as everywhere. Nevertheless, their excellent universal health care system addresses the issues of mental health really well but the problem is still prevalent.

India, with its ranking of 118 in the report, needs to take better care of the happiness of its citizens. Not to mention, the mental health care has to be improved a lot more keeping in mind the situation of Denmark which is the happiest country, and yet suffers from mental health issues.

Serving as an inspiration, Bhutan is the only country at present where the development of the country is measured by the happiness of its people. The indicator of development is not Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but Gross National Happiness (GNH).

Henceforth, widening the approach fixated exclusively on economic growth, societies which are thriving, sustainable and most of all, happy, should be endorsed.


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