Special Report

Happiest Countries in the World

Detailed Findings

It’s been said that money can’t buy happiness, but you need it to attain a basic standard of living that can serve as the foundation for well-being. Not surprisingly, the happiest countries tend to have higher incomes.

Personal freedom to make life choices can also have a profound impact on individual happiness, and the world’s happiest countries are generally home to populations with a strong sense of personal freedom. More than 90% of those surveyed in 14 of the 25 happiest countries believe they have the latitude to make life choices.

Familial bonds and friendship provide the greatest safety and comfort and are another feature of the world’s happiest countries. By all means, save for a rainy day, but spend time on cultivating lasting relationships. More than 90% of those polled in 21 of the 25 nations feel these social bonds were important.

A healthy life expectancy, measured as the number of years an individual born in a given country can expect to live a healthy life, is key. Twenty of the happiest countries have a healthy life expectancy of more than 70 years.

Another factor common to some, but not all, of these countries is the belief that there is not much corruption in government. This belief is strongest in Scandinavian countries.