As said by Dalai Lama “Happiness is the highest form of health”. And you can’t get luckier if you are staying in the top happiest countries in the world. The world is just full of happy people, from one stretch of the earth to the other. Yet, some countries do seem to have a higher concentration of local joy and satisfaction than others, featuring traits like high life expectancies, booming economies, and great education.
But what’s the secret to these happy countries – is it the location, environment, politics, culture, or just something in the water? While we may never know the precise reasons, after compiling data from various resources like the Happy Planet Index, the World Happiness report, and Forbes’ list of happiest countries, we can at least let you know what the 10 happiest countries in the world are.
Known for its great education system, this Nordic country also offers a high quality of life, low levels of corruption, high literacy rates, a small income gap, high life expectancy, and a great work-life balance. The culture of Finland combines indigenous heritage, as represented for example by the country’s Uralic national language Finnish and the sauna, with common Nordic, Russian and European culture.
It’s not surprising that Norway tends to rank very high on world happiness reports – it’s one of the most prosperous countries in the world, has the 2nd highest level of satisfaction with standards of living, and three quarters of its residents report that they have more positive than negative experiences each day. The country is also one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth, with an abundance of fjords, glaciers, and mountains. From Viking Origins to Modern Jante Law. Much of the culture of Norway can be traced back to the Vikings, a group of Scandinavian seafaring pirates, traders, and pioneers that settled in Northern Europe in the eighth century.
Iceland surprised many people when it remained in the World Happiness Report’s top 10 after the 2008 economic recession. According to Helliwell, the recession “brought the communities closer together” and helped spur a new era of tourism. Now Iceland Air offers cheap flights to Europe, with extended layovers in the capital city of Reykjavík. Once in the country, travelers find indoor market halls and outdoor swimming pools in the capital city, as well as many easily accessible national parks. If you have time, take a drive along Ring Road to see the island’s volcanoes, beaches, and other outdoor landmarks. The culture of Iceland is rich and varied as well as being known for its literary heritage which began in the 12th century. Other Iceland traditional arts include weaving, silversmithing, and wood carving.
Switzerland is simply stunning, with its towering snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes, and environments that range from lush to frozen. Its people are also some of the happiest, with higher than average life expectancies, strong health rankings, plenty of community involvement, and great safety. Plus, in a place that’s known for its abundance of delectable chocolate, how could you ever be sad? Three of the continent’s major languages, German, French and Italian, are national languages of Switzerland, along with Romansh, spoken by a small minority. Therefore, Swiss culture is characterized by diversity, which is reflected in a wide range of traditional customs.
This European country isn’t all tulips, windmills, and clogs – Netherlanders rate themselves as some of the most satisfied people in the world. With their strong job market and great work-life balance, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. In their very free country, locals also get to enjoy plenty of personal choice, from religion to sexuality and everything in between. The culture of the Netherlands is diverse, reflecting regional differences as well as the foreign influences built up by centuries of the Dutch people’s mercantile and explorative spirit. The Netherlands and its people have long played an important role as centre of cultural liberalism and tolerance.
One of the largest countries in the world is also one of the happiest; Canadian people are incredibly content with their current lives and the direction that they’re heading in. Canadians have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, live in one of the safest of all countries, and have a top performing education system. Plus, 80% of all residents say that they enjoy more positive experiences than negative in the average day. Throughout Canada’s history, its culture has been influenced by European culture and traditions, especially British and French, and by its own indigenous cultures. Over time, elements of the cultures of Canada’s immigrant populations have become incorporated into mainstream Canadian culture.
The island country of New Zealand has only been occupied by humans for about 800 years. From the Blue Mountains to the wild penguins on South Island, there are many beautiful sights to lift locals’ spirits in this thriving ecological paradise. Today it has low levels of pollution and is known as one of the most biodiverse islands in the world. New Zealanders take pride in their local ecology and work hard to protect it. The culture of New Zealand is essentially a Western culture influenced by the unique environment and geographic isolation of the islands, and the cultural input of the indigenous Māori and the various waves of multi-ethnic migration which followed the British colonisation of New Zealand.
Don’t let all the sharks, snakes, and venomous spiders fool you – Australians are some of the happiest in the world. Not only do they live in one of the most adored spots on earth, but they also rank high in many life-happiness categories; they have some of the highest scores for community engagement, health, environmental care, and employment. The culture of Australia is a Western culture, derived primarily from Britain but also influenced by the unique geography of Australia, the diverse input of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other Australian people. Australian culture has diverged significantly since British settlement.
Then, all that’s left for you to do is pack your bags, pick a country, and make your move.