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World Happiness Index 2016
Mar 26, 2016

Denmark took the top spot as the ‘happiest country’ in the world, displacing Switzerland, according to The World Happiness Report 2016, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative of the United Nations.

Key Features

  • Switzerland was ranked second on the list, followed by Iceland (3), Norway (4) and Finland (5).

  • India was ranked 118th in the list, down one slot from last year on the index.

  • India comes below Somalia (76), China (83), Pakistan (92), Iran (105), Palestinian Territories (108) and Bangladesh (110). 

  • India was among the group of 10 countries witnessing the biggest happiness declines, along with Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and Botswana.

  • The United States ranked 13th in overall happiness, lagging behind Canada (6), the Netherlands (7), New Zealand (8), Australia (9), Sweden (10), Israel (11) and Austria (12).

  • Germany came in 16th place, while other superpowers—the United Kingdom (23), Japan (53), Russia (56) and China (83) were markedly lower.
  • People in Burundi are the least satisfied with their lives, according to the survey of 156 countries, but residents of Benin (153rd place), Afghanistan (154), Togo (155) and Syria (156) aren't doing much better.

  • Some countries that saw drops suffered economic and political turmoil, including Greece, Italy and Spain, while Ukraine's political trouble and violence likely caused a significant drop in happiness there.

  • The report takes into account the GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices as indicators of happiness.

For the first time the report gives a special role to the measurement and consequences of inequality in the distribution of well-being among countries and regions. People are happier living in societies where there is less inequality of happiness. They also find that happiness inequality has increased significantly (comparing 2012-2015 to 2005-2011) in most countries, in almost all global regions, and for the population of the world as a whole.

There are at least seven key ingredients of happiness. People who live in the happiest countries have longer life expectancies, have more social support, have more freedom to make life choices, have lower perceptions of corruption, experience more generosity, experience less inequality of happiness and have a higher gross domestic product per capita.


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