Special Report

Happiest Countries in the World

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

25. Chile
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 73.7%
> Residents who say they have social support: 84.9%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 83.5%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 69.4 years

Chile rounds out the list of the world’s happiest countries. Known for their warmth, you can expect a peck on the cheek from a Chilean in greeting — it’s ritual. One of the reasons Chile ranks so highly is Chileans’ desire to be around their extended family and make frequent, almost daily, visits with close friends. They say that good friends and loving relationships keep the brain strong.

Source: Cbojorquez75 / Wikimedia Commons

24. Mexico
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 77.7%
> Residents who say they have social support: 81.7%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 77.2%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 67.9 years

Mexico’s official name is The United Mexican States. And united it stands. Familial bonds are one of the reasons the country is high up in this year’s rankings. For Mexicans, family satisfaction is key. So much so, that there is a direct correlation between familial bonds to the achievements individuals reach in life.

Source: Thinkstock

23. France
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 81.2%
> Residents who say they have social support: 90.5%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 62.2%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 72.6 years

France jumped to 23 from 31 between 2017 and 2018 in happiness. The world’s most visited country is not typically associated with being the most welcoming. Perhaps that’s changing. The French already know that living life at a slower pace is the way to go. It seems their “joie de vivre” outlook, or “joy of life,” is rubbing off on them. Très bien!

Source: Thinkstock

22. Malta
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 91.7%
> Residents who say they have social support: 92.9%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 68.4%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 71.8 years

Who wouldn’t be happy living in an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea just south of Sicily? With a population of just under 450,000, the country is one of the top gainers in its citizens’ happiness levels. Could that be attributable to President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, elected in 2014, and met with unanimous approval by parliament?

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21. Czech Republic
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 83.1%
> Residents who say they have social support: 91.4%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 88.5%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 70.9 years

This little landlocked country in Central Europe consumes the highest amount of beer per capita in the world. Since beer is a social lubricant, maybe that’s why the Czechs are a happier lot — with increasing levels of happiness. For all of the beer aficionados, Pilsner Urquell, the first pilsner type beer ever made, is still brewed in the Czech Republic.