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These Are The Happiest Countries On Earth, According To The World Happiness Report

America, the self-proclaimed greatest country in the world, is certainly far from being the happiest. Here are the happiest countries on Earth, according to the World Happiness Report.

Every March 20 is the International Day of Happiness, so it's a good time to take a look at the best estimates available measuring the happiness of all countries across the world. That's what the World Happiness Report does. In it, several variables are measured, including government, technology, and overall health to produce a general metric, which can then be used to rank all nations in terms of its citizens' happiness. It's an interesting graphic, to say the least. 

Here are the happiest countries on Earth, according to the World Happiness Report.

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The ranking

Surprisingly, the 7th World Happiness Report shows the US is not a particularly nice place to live in, at least in terms of overall happiness. It's not even in the top ten. Leading the charge, one the other hand, are the Nordic countries of Finland, Denmark, and Norway in the top three, with Iceland, Netherlands, and Switzerland following close behind. Australia is at the eleventh spot, the UK at the 15th, and the US all the way down in the 19th place—not far from Mexico, which currently stands at number 23. 

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On the other end of the spectrum we find South Sudan as the least happy country on Earth, followed by the Central African Republic and Afghanistan. 

(You'll find the complete list at the end of the article.)

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A bit of history

The World Happiness Report (WHR) has a proud, if brief, history. Its first iteration was released in April 2012, following (and supporting) a UN meeting on “Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm.” It was a first attempt at gathering, analyzing, and reviewing all the then-available data on national happiness and evaluating the emerging field of the science of happiness. 

That report demonstrated that there was a way, however flawed, to coherently, reliably, and validly measure people's quality of life around the world. Since then, the methods used, the variables considered, and the resulting reliability have been perfected through six other iterations of happiness reports, each learning invaluable lessons from the previous attempts. Today, the World Happiness Report stands as the most comprehensive and well-grounded study about happiness on the planet. 

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How is happiness measured? 

The WHR uses several subjective well-being measures, collectively referred to as 'happiness.' Each one of the reports includes several updated evaluations by country and region, as well as many especially commissioned studies which explore in more depth the science of well-being and its specific applications to socially relevant topics. The reports often center around a particular theme.

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According to the WHR official page, this time around the theme is happiness and community. Specifically, "how happiness has been changing over the past dozen years, and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities." Last year's report, for example, centered around migration and its global impact.

All reports provide country rankings of life evaluations, which consider different aspects pertaining to the quality of life of a given population. This year's report also measures the links between governments and happiness, the power of prosocial behavior and generosity, and changes in information technology.

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The WHR is lauded as a landmark survey which rates and ranks 156 countries by states of well-being. The survey basically asks each country's citizens how happy they perceive themselves to be in several spheres of life.

From the 7th World Happiness Report

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