The Happiest And Unhappiest Countries In The World
By Jon Clifton, Gallup managing partner
March 20, 2017

Today, the U.N. launches its next iteration of its “World Happiness Report.” Popularized by previous reports, these happiness rankings have become world famous. Many people can quickly identify Denmark, Norway and Switzerland as among the happiest countries. What people don’t know is how happiness is measured and why it’s so important to track.

Brexit is not the only global event for which happiness metrics served as a leading indicator of broad citizen discomfort. Perhaps the most prominent example was the lead-up to the Arab uprising. Even the most trustworthy indicators such as GDP and the U.N.’s Human Development Index proved unreliable in forecasting the uprisings in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and Bahrain. Happiness, on the other hand, told a different story. While GDP per capita grew in almost perfect linear fashion in all four Arab countries, happiness plummeted.

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Similar trends are seen in the lead-up to the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine. Since the revolution, Ukrainians’ happiness ratings have been at record lows. In fact, Ukraine is the only European country near the bottom of the happiness list, ranking 132nd.

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Using Gallup data from more than 150 countries, today's report again ranks the world's happiest countries. The information will be fun to consume "especially for people who live in the world’s happiest countries" but leaders should pay close attention to the results. Measures of how people rate their lives are quickly becoming just as important as indicators of income and employment.

Measures of how people rate their lives are quickly becoming just as important as indicators of income and employment.

This year’s happiest ― and unhappiest ― countries in the world are listed below.

World Happiness Rankings

Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. Suppose we say that the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you, and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time, assuming that the higher the step the better you feel about your life, and the lower the step the worse you feel about it? Which step comes closest to the way you feel?

 

Life Today

 

2014-2016

Norway

7.537

Denmark

7.522

Iceland

7.504

Switzerland

7.494

Finland

7.469

Netherlands

7.377

Canada

7.316

New Zealand

7.314

Australia

7.284

Sweden

7.284

Israel

7.213

Costa Rica

7.079

Austria

7.006

United States

6.993

Ireland

6.977

Germany

6.951

Belgium

6.891

Luxembourg

6.863

United Kingdom

6.714

Chile

6.652

United Arab Emirates

6.648

Brazil

6.635

Czech Republic

6.609

Argentina

6.599

Mexico

6.578

Singapore

6.572

Malta

6.527

Uruguay

6.454

Guatemala

6.454

Panama

6.452

France

6.442

Thailand

6.424

Taiwan

6.422

Spain

6.403

Qatar

6.375

Colombia

6.357

Saudi Arabia

6.344

Kuwait

6.105

Slovakia

6.098

Bahrain

6.087

Malaysia

6.084

Nicaragua

6.071

Ecuador

6.008

El Salvador

6.003

Poland

5.973

Uzbekistan

5.971

Italy

5.964

Russia

5.963

Belize

5.956

Japan

5.920

Lithuania

5.902

Algeria

5.872

Latvia

5.850

South Korea

5.838

Moldova

5.838

Romania

5.825

Bolivia

5.823

Turkmenistan

5.822

Kazakhstan

5.819

Northern Cyprus

5.810

Slovenia

5.758

Peru

5.715

Mauritius

5.629

Cyprus

5.621

Estonia

5.611

Belarus

5.569

Libya

5.525

Turkey

5.500

Paraguay

5.493

Hong Kong

5.472

Philippines

5.430

Serbia

5.395

Jordan

5.336

Hungary

5.324

Jamaica

5.311

Croatia

5.293

Kosovo

5.279

China

5.273

Pakistan

5.269

Indonesia

5.262

Venezuela

5.250

Montenegro

5.237

Morocco

5.235

Azerbaijan

5.234

Dominican Republic

5.230

Greece

5.227

Lebanon

5.225

Portugal

5.195

Bosnia and Herzegovina

5.182

Honduras

5.181

Macedonia

5.175

Somalia

5.151

Vietnam

5.074

Nigeria

5.074

Tajikistan

5.041

Bhutan

5.011

Kyrgyzstan

5.004

Nepal

4.962

Mongolia

4.955

South Africa

4.829

Tunisia

4.805

Palestinian Territories

4.775

Egypt

4.735

Bulgaria

4.714

Sierra Leone

4.709

Cameroon

4.695

Iran

4.692

Albania

4.644

Bangladesh

4.608

Namibia

4.574

Kenya

4.553

Mozambique

4.550

Myanmar

4.545

Senegal

4.535

Zambia

4.514

Iraq

4.497

Gabon

4.465

Ethiopia

4.460

Sri Lanka

4.440

Armenia

4.376

India

4.315

Mauritania

4.292

Congo (Brazzaville)

4.291

Georgia

4.286

Congo (Kinshasa)

4.280

Mali

4.190

Ivory Coast

4.180

Cambodia

4.168

Sudan

4.139

Ghana

4.120

Ukraine

4.096

Uganda

4.081

Burkina Faso

4.032

Niger

4.028

Malawi

3.970

Chad

3.936

Zimbabwe

3.875

Lesotho

3.808

Angola

3.795

Afghanistan

3.794

Botswana

3.766

Benin

3.657

Madagascar

3.644

Haiti

3.603

Yemen

3.593

South Sudan

3.591

Liberia

3.533

Guinea

3.507

Togo

3.495

Rwanda

3.471

Syria

3.462

Tanzania

3.349

Burundi

2.905

Central African Republic

2.693

Averages based on Gallup World Poll surveys conducted in 2014-2016

Gallup World Poll

 


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