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Posted: September 10, 2013

U.S. ranks 17th in 2013 World Happiness Report


By Matt Picht

If you’re planning a vacation and looking for a nice, happy country to visit, the United Nations has just released the perfect travel guide.

 The second annual World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries based on the satisfaction of their citizens. The report uses data from the 2010-2012 Gallup World Poll, which asked 1,000 participants from each country to rank their general life satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10.  (Via United Nations)

 Respondents’ answers were measured according to six categories: GDP per capita, support from friends and family, a healthy life expectancy, prevalence of generosity in society, freedom to make life choices, and perception of corruption.

According to the responses, the five happiest countries in the world are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden in that order. The U.S. placed a respectable 17th, narrowly edged out of 16th place by Mexico. (Via YouTube / eurodestination)

 Study lead Jeffery Sachs told Al Jazeera Scandinavian countries tend to rank high in happiness surveys thanks to their balanced scores in all six categories of satisfaction.

“These are prosperous societies, but they’re not just driven by making money. … These are good, balanced, healthy places. And they reflect it in this measured happiness.”

 And the good news is, the world is getting a little bit happier. The report noted a mild uptick in overall global happiness thanks to strong gains in Latin American and Sub-Saharan African countries.  (Via CNN)

 But those increases were partially offset by steep declines in countries which are suffering from economic or political upheaval, with Egypt ranking as the biggest loser. (Via CBS)

 But not everyone’s smiling about the happiness survey, which has come under fire in the past for equating the disparate problems faced by rich and poor countries.

 The National Post reports the survey has faced “criticism that the project was a veiled effort at wealth-redistribution by left-wing fiscal interventionists.”

 The report was published Sept. 9 by the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network with the endorsement of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

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