Aren’t you just a bit curious which countries are the happiest in the world? Now, thanks to the World Happiness Report of 2015, we have the answer, showing which countries are making citizens happiest based on certain criteria.
“The aspiration of society is the flourishing of its members,” said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, in a news release. “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. The evidence here will be useful to all countries as they pursue the new Sustainable Development Goals.”
The report was produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and contains an analysis from leading experts across many fields. The first of these reports was produced in 2012, and since then, researchers have continually surveyed country populations to gain a more accurate assessment of happiness. But just which countries make the cut? Switzerland seems to make the top of the list, shortly followed by Iceland, Denmark, Norway, and then Canada.
“As the science of happiness advances, we are getting to the heart of what factors define quality of life for citizens,” said John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. “We are encouraged that more and more governments around the world are listening and responding with policies that put well-being first. Countries with strong social and institutional capital not only support greater well-being, but are more resilient to social and economic crises.”
To determine which countries are chosen, researchers based the levels on a scale from 0 to 10. Scientists found that people in over 150 countries surveyed by Gallup over the period of 2012 to 2015 had an average score of 5.1. Six key variables explain three-quarters of the variation in annual national average scores over time among countries, with real GDP per capita, having someone to count on, healthy life expectancy, perceived ideas of freedom to make life choices, and freedom from corruption and generosity being those variables.
But what might these findings suggest for overall world happiness? They demonstrate key national challenges that ensure how policies are designed and delivered in ways that enrich social fabrics and teach the power of empathy to current and future generations.
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