Revealed: The world's happiest nations as political upheaval sees Egypt fall in rankings

Northern Europe leads but residents of Sub-Saharan Africa are the least satisfied with their lives

Majid Mohamed@Majid_Mohamed
Wednesday 11 September 2013 10:35

If you want to be happy and satisfied with your life then move to Denmark, according to a 156-nation UN survey.

Northern Europe leads the way for providing happiness but residents of Sub-Saharan Africa are the least satisfied with their lives, according to The World Happiness Report 2013.

Click HERE to see the world's happiest nations

The top five happiest countries in the world were Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, according to the report published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Denmark also took top spot last year.

The UK is the 22nd happiest country in the world ahead other nations including Germany (26), Japan (43), Russia (68) and China (93).

The UK does though have one of the world's favourite cities but had no entry in the top 10 cities to live in the world. Luckily another recent survey, for the worst cities in the world to live in, did not feature an entry from Britain.

The US (17) ranks higher than UK but fell from 11th place, which the report attributes to an increase in poverty and unemployment. The US was behind its neighbour Canada which came 6th and Australia in 10th.

Egypt had the greatest fall in happiness level from 2012 after recent unrest and political upheaval whilst rankings for Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain fell dramatically because of the impact of the eurozone crisis. The report considered the rise of unemployment as a key factor for the fall in happiness for nations suffering in the EU.

The lowest ranked were African nations Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo.

Data for the new report, collected between 2010 and 2012, showed overall increases in happiness from the first survey. Happiness levels increased the most in Latin America.

The Report also shows the major beneficial side-effects of happiness. Happy people live longer, are more productive, earn more, and are also better citizens.

Wealth is not the only factor for the results. Political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption in a nation makes people happy. On an individual level - good health, job security and stable families - are crucial.

The report also notes that mental illnesses are major contributors to unhappiness around the world.

The first World Happiness Report, released in 2012, drew international attention as a landmark first survey of the state of global happiness.

Vancouver, Canada: The North American country is the 10th happiest nation in the world

This year the 156-page report includes more detailed analysis so that citizens and politicians can understand their country’s ranking.

“There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being,” said Professor Jeffery Sachs. “More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable development.”

The report ranks the happiest countries around the globe using a range of factors to determine a population-weighted average score of 5.1 (out of 10). Six key variables explain three-quarters of the variation in annual national average scores over time and among countries. These six factors include: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity.

Ranking of happiness: Top 20

1. Denmark

2. Norway

3. Switzerland

4. The Netherlands

5. Sweden

6. Canada

7. Finland

8. Austria

9. Iceland

10. Australia

11. Israel

12. Costa Rica

13. New Zealand

14. United Arab of Emirates

15. Panama

16. Mexico

17. United States

18. Republic of Ireland

19. Luxemburg

20. Venezuela

Ranking of happiness: Bottom 10

1. Togo

2. Benin

3. Central African Republic

4. Burundi

5. Rwanda

6. Tanzania

7. Guinea

8. Comoros

9. Syria

10. Senegal

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