Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
World is slightly happier than it used to be, report says
First Published Sep 10 2013 04:47 pm • Last Updated Sep 10 2013 04:47 pm

Great news, Earthlings! As a whole, you were 0.5 percent happier from 2010 to 2012 than you were from 2005 to 2007.

Statisticians may think that’s a negligible number, but part of being happy is looking on the bright side, right?

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

This information on world happiness comes courtesy of the 2013 World Happiness Report, published by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Researchers analyzed data on happiness collected from people living in more than 150 countries to discover which have the happiest - and unhappiest - citizens and to see how happiness has shifted around the world over a five-year period.

The five happiest countries on Earth are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden. This despite the fact that they all experience cold, dark winters. All five countries are pretty much as happy as they were the last time the report was published.

The United States ranked as 17th-happiest country - slightly happier than the citizens of Ireland (No. 18) and a little less happy than Mexico (No. 16). Americans saw their overall happiness drop by about 3 percent over the five-year period between surveys.

Canadians are the sixth-happiest people in the world. Israelis came in at 11th, and the French rank 24th.

The unhappiest countries are the Central African Republic (No. 154), Benin (No. 155), and Togo (No. 156), which placed last.

The authors found that in general, happiness was up 7 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, up 5.1 percent in East Asia and up 5.9 percent in the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet republics). It was down 11.7 percent in the Middle East and North Africa and down 6.8 percent in South Asia.

To determine which countries are the happiest, the researchers asked an average of 3,000 people per country to rank their overall sense of life satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10.

story continues below
story continues below

After analyzing tens of thousands of responses, the researchers identified six main dimensions to happiness, including income, mental and physical health, social support, freedom to make your own choices, being inclined to help others, and living under a government that doesn’t seem corrupt.

"There is no one key to a society’s well-being, but if you take these variables, they explain about three-quarters of the observed variation across countries," said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and an author of the report.

He added that governments around the world have expressed great interest in the report.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.