The Happiest Countries in the World

Northern Nordic countries tend to rank as the world's happiest.
Northern Nordic countries tend to rank as the world's happiest.

When it comes to world happiness, Scandinavian countries often come out at the top. The World Happiness Report is an annual publication by the UN Sustainable Development Solution Network that ranks countries across six areas including freedom, corruption, life expectancy, generosity, social support, and GDP. The data used in the ranking is obtained from the Gallup World Poll. The scores are aggregated to a value between 0 and 10, with 10 being the happiest country. The happiness level of the immigrants was also assessed for the first time in 117 of 156 countries that were involved in the happiness survey in 2018. Here's what the report found when it comes to the world's happiest countries:

1. Finland

According to the World Happiness Report, the 5 million residents of Finland are the happiest in the world with an aggregated score of 7.632. Finland ranks first thanks to its low corruption rate, high quality of life, and good governance. Finns enjoy the largest forest cover per square mile of any country in Europe. The low threat levels and high environmental standards make Finland one of the most peaceful countries in the world. With a high ratio of foreigners calling Finland home, the World Happiness Report indicates consistency in happiness between them and the locals.

2. Norway

In the 2017 happiness report, Norway was the happiest country in the world. It was relegated to a still impressive second position in 2018 with an aggregated score of 7.594. Welfare and social security are the main reasons why Norway continues to dominate the list of the world's happiest countries. It also one of the top countries in the prosperity index.

3. Denmark

Although Denmark dropped from first to second in 2017 and then to third in 2018, it still remains as one of the happiest countries in the world. The consistent drop over the two years is not a major concern as the country as the quality of life keeps rising. A well-functioning health and welfare system and a great education system both put smiles on Danes' faces. With a happiness score of 7.555 and top rankings in terms of GDP per capita and the freedom to make life choices, Denmark is likely to dominate the top happiest countries in the world for a long time to come.

4. Iceland

Iceland is the fourth-happiest country in the world with a score of 7.495. Iceland is known for being fair, equal, and peaceful. It has consistently ranked around the top spots due to its free education and health care and the low tax. The number of people visiting the country has quadrupled in recent years thanks to a global interest in tourism in Iceland.

5. Switzerland

Switzerland comes in fifth place with a score of 7.487. Switzerland is home to a booming economy, world-class education, clean air, and phenomenal infrastructure. Switzerland has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, averaging over 80 years.

6. The Netherlands

The Netherlands is known for its iconic tulip and windmills – however, this is not all that the country has to offer. According to the World Happiness Report 2018, Netherlands is the sixth happiest country in the world with a score of 7.441. Much like other entries on this list, a strong social security network and relatively equal society help make the Netherlands a desirable place to live.

7. Canada

Canada is the happiest country outside of Europe and the seventh happiest in the world with a score of 7.328. It is one of the preferred countries for people looking to relocate to the Americas. The high life expectancy, extraordinary landscape, and friendly population are some of the contributing factors to its happiness level. The freedom and social support enjoyed by the residents also contribute to Canada being one of the happiest countries in the world.

8. New Zealand

With a score of 7.324, only 0.04 behind Canada, New Zealand is the eigth happiest country in the world. Located in the Pacific Ocean, the island country has consistently topped the travel wish list of many people around the world. This beautiful, remote, and relaxed country offers a way of life that translates to great happiness not only for the visitors but also for the residents. The residents experience a healthy life expectancy, welfare support, and the freedom to make personal choices without much interference.

9. Sweden

Ranked as the ninth happiest country in the world, Sweden is the lowest-ranked Nordic country by the World Happiness Report. However, with a score of 7.314, it swapped places with Australia, climbing one place. Sweden has a combination of cool weather, beautiful cities, and magnificent wilderness. It is one of the most transparent countries with low corruption rates. The residents of Sweden enjoy a high life expectancy, quality life, great healthcare, and accessible education.

10. Australia

Closing the list of the ten happiest countries in the world is Australia with a score of 7.272. It dropped one place from last year, down to the tenth position. Australia is characterized by endless beaches, phenomenal weather all year round, and several recreational sites, all of which make it a popular tourist destination. The country has also consistently ranked among the happiest countries because of the high life expectancy, education system, peace, and opportunities for business. Australia also scored highly in social support and freedom to make life choices.

The Happiest Countries in the World

RankCountryWorld Happiness Score
1 Finland7.632
2 Norway7.594
3 Denmark7.555
4 Iceland7.495
5 Switzerland7.487
6 Netherlands7.441
7 Canada7.328
8 New Zealand7.324
9 Sweden7.314
10 Australia7.272

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