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What Are the 10 Happiest Countries in the World?

What Are the 10 Happiest Countries in the World?

World's happiest countries map

The 2015 World’s Happiness Report ranked each country’s level of well-being

Want to be surrounded by happy locals on your next vacation? Head for Europe or Down Under, according to a ranking of the world’s happiest countries.

The 10 Happiest Countries

The 2015 World Happiness Report says Switzerland is the happiest country in the world. It’s followed by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada.

Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia make up the rest of the top 10. That means small or medium-sized countries in Western and Northern Europe are seven of the top 10 happiest countries.

Switzerland rose from third place last year to take first in this year’s rankings

The top 13 countries were the same for the second year in a row, although their order shifted. The United States ranked 15th, behind Israel and Mexico.

The three countries that gained the most happiness from last year’s ranking were Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and Ecuador.

What Makes Them the Happiest Countries?

People who live in the happiest countries live longer, healthier lives. They have more support from family, friends and communities. They experience more generosity, have more freedom to make choices, have lower perceptions of corruption and have a higher gross domestic product per person.

People in more than 150 countries were surveyed by Gallup between 2012 and 2015. The happiness scale runs from 0 to 10, and during that period countries had an average score of 5.1. Differences in social support, incomes, and healthy life expectancy are the three most important factors in a country’s score.

World's happiest countries: NicaraguaNicaragua’s happiness grew the most from last year’s survey to this year’s

Why Rank the Happiest Countries?

The World Happiness Report, published by the United Nations, measures happiness to influence governments to track and improve the well-being of their citizens.

More governments are using happiness data and research to create policies that help people live better lives. The information is influencing everything from the design of public spaces to the delivery of public services.

“The aspiration of society is the flourishing of its members,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and one of the study editors. “This report gives evidence on how to achieve societal well-being. It’s not by money alone, but also by fairness, honesty, trust, and good health.”

How You Can Share in the Happiness

Visit one of these countries, and make a point of talking with locals. You’ll pick up on the contentment through firsthand encounters. If you need some planning assistance, you can find a Virtuoso travel advisor who specializes in the happiest country of your choice.

Also know that travel anywhere is going to make you happier. A survey by the U.S. Travel Association found that 80% of Americans believe that travel improves their general mood and outlook toward life.

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