Special Report

Happiest Countries in the World

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5. Switzerland
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 92.9%
> Residents who say they have social support: 93.9%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 28.8%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 73.2 years

Switzerland is officially recognized as The Swiss Confederation and hosts four main languages and regions, that of German, French, Italian and the lesser-known Romansh. Neutrality comes naturally to the Swiss. All of these cultures live peaceably together within its borders. The federal government is mandated to communicate and translate in all four languages.

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4. Iceland
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 94.3%
> Residents who say they have social support: 97.7%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 69.2%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 72.8 years

Not winter’s darkness, volcanic eruptions, or difficult terrain could keep the fierce Icelandics down through the centuries. The nation had the highest score among the happiest nations in terms of residents who say they have social support. The country also tops the list on Gallup’s Migrant Acceptance Index. Not bad for its 93% Icelandic population.

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3. Denmark
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 94.9%
> Residents who say they have social support: 95.5%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 19.4%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 71.3 years

Why are the Danes such a happy lot? They partake in high-quality social interactions that the call hygge. It’s “intentional intimacy.” This could translate into meeting a friend for a coffee or a family gathering that boasts board games and good eats. Hygge is perceived to be the means to strengthen trust.

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2. Norway
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 95.2%
> Residents who say they have social support: 95.2%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 32.0%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 71.1 years

Norway’s fjords are touted as some of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world. Proud Norwegians might say life is an adventure and that they live by that particular ideal daily. Yet it’s not just what nature has to offer. It’s placing that reverence onto relationships with loved ones.

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1. Finland
> Residents who say they have freedom to make life’s choices: 94.7%
> Residents who say they have social support: 95.6%
> Residents who believe corruption is widespread in their government: 22.1%
> Healthy life expectancy at birth: 71.5 years

Finland takes the lead position for the first time this year. This tiny nation of 5.5 million people is known as the Land of the Midnight Sun. Perhaps it’s the long stretches of darkness that winter brings that encourage the desire for more connectedness to other people, or greater focus on personal goals. Or more swamp soccer. Whatever it is, it’s working.