The Pursuit Of Happiness: The World’s Happiest Countries

A recent Gallup report explores what conditions contribute to quality of life.

A recent Gallup report on the world’s happiest countries confirms a sneaking suspicion – money does buy you happiness, at least to a large degree. According to researchers, a majority of people spend their waking hours in the pursuit of money, and “it would be surprising if success at this pursuit had no influence whatsoever when people were asked to evaluate their lives.”

Denmark, with a per capita GDP of $36,000 in 2009 is the world’s happiest country. Indeed, a majority of the countries topping the poll have high levels of individual prosperity.

But while income influenced happiness on an overall life satisfaction level, their day to day happiness depended on how well an individual’s psychological and social needs were being met. With its tight knit social networks, Costa Rica ranked as the 6th happiest country in the world, beating richer nations like the United States.

The complete rankings list can be seen here, and the top 20 below.

1 Denmark
2 Finland
3 Norway
4 Sweden
4 Netherlands
6 Costa Rica
6 New Zealand
8 Canada
8 Israel
8 Australia
8 Switzerland
12 Panama
12 Brazil
14 United States
14 Austria
16 Belgium
17 United Kingdom
18 Mexico
18 Turkmenistan
20 United Arab Emirates

Forbes:  “The World’s Happiest Countries”

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