The Happiest Country On Earth, According To Research

Here's what we can learn about happiness from other countries.

woman happily riding bike Soloviova Liudmyla | Shutterstock

Haven't been feeling very happy lately? Maybe it's time for a move!

We're not talking about relocating to another city or state. Try a whole new country. Why? Well, because the 2023 World Happiness Report found some countries have happier citizens than others, and — the United States isn't one of the highest ranked. 

More and more people have come to believe that our success as countries should be judged by the happiness of our people. There is also a growing consensus about how happiness should be measured. This consensus means that national happiness can now become an operational objective for governments.


This country is the happiest place on earth, according to research.

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How are we able to determine if a country is happy? How can a government effectively pursue happiness as a goal of public policy? We need to know what drives government effectiveness.


Although some countries today may share key features, we do not argue that these emerged from a common ideal path. Each functioning country has a unique history, leading to its current circumstances. However, we highlight certain features, namely institutions, norms, and values that foster political cohesiveness, and happiness.

All societies have cleavages based on incomes, social classes, regions of residence, religions, or ethnicities. For a state to govern successfully in the presence of such differences, it must find ways of bringing citizens together to recognize their common interests and reconcile their conflicting priorities.

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The annual study looked at factors including how much people earn, how long they live, and perceived freedoms to come up with its rankings. It also considered more intangibles, such as feeling safe, being sad, laughing, stressed, and getting enough rest.


Turns out ... drum roll ... Finland is the happiest place on Earth. Hmm. Take that Disneyland!

It's followed by Denmark, Iceland and Israel. Rounding out the top 10: Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and New Zealand. 

So, where does the good old red, white, and blue fall on the list? We're down at 15. YIKES!

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However, don't begin the pity party quite yet — we aren't the worst off. Researchers found that the least happy countries were the nations of Togo, Jordan, and India. Along with Zimbabwe Sierra Leone, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.

Since moving is probably not a feasible option, what are we supposed to do with this information? Start forming policy around it!


"In conclusion, much of public policy cannot be evaluated in terms of willingness to pay. In such areas we believe that governments should develop new methods of analysis where happiness is taken as the measure of benefit," says the researchers of the report.

Hopefully, we'll see good things come from these annual reports, but for the time being how about a nice ski vacation in Scandinavia?

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why This Country Has The Happiest People In The World


Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.