Switzerland used to be the world’s happiest country according to United Nation World Happiness Report, but in the latest 2016 report, Denmark has again topped the happy list. The ranking was primarily based on six key categories, namely a nation’s gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy-life expectancy, personal freedom, charitable giving and perceive corruption with 157 countries being evaluated.
The report found that inequality strongly contributed to unhappiness. Hence, rich countries such as United States, where rising contrast in health, wealth and income have created political discontent. However the survey also showed that countries like Japan, Ireland and Iceland were able to maintain their happiness levels despite external shocks such as the 2011 earthquake and the post 2007 financial crisis, mainly because of its strong social support and solidarity.
The western countries with strong social society nets filled the top spots with Denmark leading followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. On the other hand, the war-torn countries such as Syria, Togo, Benin, Guinea, Liberia, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Madagascar were the least happy country with Burundi finishing last. Many of these nations are politically unstable mostly due to war and conflict. Not to mention already impoverished and disease-stricken.
Other powerful countries such as Russia is ranked 56, China 83 and India 118. Smaller South East Asian countries such as Singapore is at 22, Thailand 33 and Malaysia 47 respectively.
This survey was conducted between 2013 and 2015. A lot have changed since, especially when it comes to issues of corruptions and terrorism but overall still a good indicator.