Special Report

Happiest Countries in the World

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15. Germany
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 86.7%
> Residents who say they have social support: 90.8%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 43.0%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 71.1 years

Germany boasts the world’s fourth largest economy by nominal GDP, so it’s no wonder that there are many Germans merrily going about their way. Perhaps the stereotype of always being punctual and requiring order has its merits as corruption is one of the lowest — contributing to residents’ overall well-being.

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14. Ireland
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 89.1%
> Residents who say they have social support: 95.2%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 38.2%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 71.6 years

There’s something magical about this little lush green island sitting in the North Atlantic. As the old adage goes, “It’s the little things that make a big difference.” Some Irish have gone on record to say having access to good public services, a clean and safe environment, and having the time to enjoy life account for their happiness. Only about 38% of those polled believe corruption in government is a problem. That’s grand.

Source: Wikipedro / Wikimedia Commons

13. Costa Rica
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 90.5%
> Residents who say they have social support: 90.2%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 76.1%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 69.7 years

“Ticos,” as Costa Ricans refer to themselves, take pride in knowing the world looks up to their country as one of the happiest on the planet. Why? For one, its inhabitants enjoy a slower pace of life in a tropical paradise setting. Less stress and lots of sunshine – yes please. And in a region known for instability, Costa Rica abolished its army as far back as 1949.

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12. Austria
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 89.3%
> Residents who say they have social support: 92.0%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 53.3%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 72.0 years

Austrians don’t stress over owning their own cars, preferring buses and trains. They also devote Sundays to being with family and sitting down altogether for dinner. Vienna has been the capital city for over a thousand years. Developing its own regional food, Viennese cuisine is unique for being the only type of cooking named after a city. Bring on the Wiener schnitzel!

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11. Israel
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 76.5%
> Residents who say they have social support: 89.1%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 79.6%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 72.0 years

There’s something to be said about resilience in the face of adversity. Israel has been in conflict with its neighbors since it came into being in 1948. s establishment.While the mandatory military service for both men and women does not necessarily improve the well-being of those serving, it does teach some wonderful transferable skills. This is manifesting itself in entrepreneurship. Israel is a magnet for venture capital from all over the world. Creativity and tech abound.