Nope, South Africa didn’t make it to the top 10. We came in at number 106. Even Nigeria beat us with it’s fancy 85th spot.
Gallup, a US analytics company, teamed up with the UN to survey the state of global happiness. They published the findings in the World Happiness Report.
Gallup reviewed 156 countries and took factors such as income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity into account.
Austria kicked Austarlia of the top 10 list this year, down to the 11th spot. The country has a stable government, and family values are cherished.
In addition, they have a generous healthcare system and even visitors can get free basic healthcare. Austrians also have smaller houses meant for smaller families of two or three members.
The only country in the Americas to make it the Top 10 list. Quite telling, isn’t it? One of the reports co-authors Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, said addiction and depression is on the increase in the United States.
Canada, on the other hand, fared significantly better than its neighbours down south. Canadian citizens have a life expectancy of 81.7 years, and a 7.4 out of 10 score for wellbeing. And only 9% inequality!
8. New Zealand
Despite the recent terror attacks on a mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand still bags the eighth spot. It’s not about the attacks, per se, but the response of New Zealand’s citizens.
Report co-editor John Helliwell, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia, says:
“What stands out about the happiest and most well connected societies is their resilience and ability to deal with bad things. After the 2011 earthquake and now the terrorist attack in Christchurch – with high social capital, where people are connected – people rally and help each other and (after the earthquake) rebuild immediately.”
These guys have plenty of reason to be happy. The lower class section of their population is tiny compared to other parts of the world, and the middle class is virtually everybody else.
Their salaries may be lower but they still more than the average North American family and do not care so much for excessive consumption and consumerism. Taxes are high but they get really good healthcare in return.
The Swiss are rich, they live longer and they have chocolate. Fun fact, they only work 35.1 hours per week and they’re clever too.
Switzerland has produced 25 Nobel laureates out of a population of around eight million. You need to be that smart to understand what’s going on the Large Hadron Collider, I guess.
In Netherlands, they value the younger generation. Hey, that may explain why the millennium-bashing United States has never made it to the Top 10 list, hey? Take note, South Africa. Take note.
While teens in Britain are battling with depression, anxiety, peer pressure and abuse, teens in Netherlands are getting the support they need from family, friends and teachers. Dr Simone de Roos, a researcher at the NetherlandsInstitute for Social Research explains:
“Dutch parents give a lot of support and have mild control. There’s an egalitarian climate, teachers are not authoritarian but accept the feelings of pupils, and pupils trust teachers.”
These guys are resilient. Eric Weiner explains that “Icelandic culture, shaped over centuries of hardship and shared suffering, reminds us of the importance – and the power – of resilience.”
Generous, too. People care about each and will stop in the dead of night on a deserted road to help a stranger because that’s just who they are. It also helps that Iceland has less equality and a smaller gap between the very rich and the very poor.
Ah, Norway. Beautiful, mysterious Norway. Norgegians are rich and have a high GDP per capita. But it’s not just what they do with their richers, but their attitude towards it and how they spend it.
Community spirit is strong and they thanks to their economic security, they stress less. Also, they have crappy weather, which apparently makes them happier? Helliwell explains:
“There is a view which suggests that historically communities that lived in harsher weather were brought together by greater mutual support.”
They have a saying, and it shows that their heads are screwed on straight and their attitude always positive: “Det er ikke noe som heter dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær.” (There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.)
In Denmark, there’s a age-old belief in ‘Hygge.’ It’s pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ and basically means freedom and “cosy contentment.”
Hygge, used as both a noun and adjective in Denmark, can describe anything from a cosy afternoon in bed watching TV, or enjoying a meal next to a fireplace with friends and family. Isn’t that beautiful?
Helliwell explained that even immigrants are happy in Finland:
“It’s true that last year all Finns were happier than rest of the countries’ residents, but their immigrants were also happiest immigrants in the world. It’s not about Finnish DNA. It’s the way life is lived in those countries.”
Yes, their taxes are higher, but in return they get a social safety net, and they trust their government. They have freedom and are generous towards each other.
Now that that you have all this information, how about planning a trip to one (or all) of the world’s Top 10 happiest countries? Remember, TravelStart always has specials!
And the least happy countries?
155. Central African Republic
156. South Sudan
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