Happiest Countries in the World in 2023
Many people believe happiness is a brief, temporary state of mind. For some, it’s having a high-quality life; for others, it’s earning a lot of money. But, what exactly is happiness? Is there a country where both locals, as well as travelers, expats, and digital nomads, feel happy?
One thing is for sure, sunshine and nice weather don’t always equal happiness. According to the World Happiness Report, the world’s happiest people live in freezing temperatures, swim in chilly waters, and pay hefty taxes.
In a quest to help you find your happy place, we’ve listed the top 10 happiest countries.
The Top 10 Happiest Countries
The Nordic countries perform well on the common happiness indicators used by the report to explain its findings: healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support in times of crisis, low corruption and high social trust, generosity in a community, and freedom to make important life decisions.
10. New Zealand
New Zealand is an affluent country with magnificent landscapes that have been well-preserved. The pace of life is significantly slower in New Zealand, and residents value their holidays and weekends.
New Zealand offers some of the world’s top social welfare systems. Furthermore, the country is full of peace and tranquillity. With amazing trails, hiking, skiing, skydiving, water activities, and so much more, it’s practically impossible to get bored in New Zealand.
A strong social network and support from family and friends is an important reason why Israel is a happy country. Israel is increasingly entrepreneurial and retains a high level of social solidarity while demonstrating progressive tolerance and acceptance.
Israel has a stable economy, a long life expectancy, great health care, and a strong social and family framework that provides a sense of security and connection to its citizens. Friends and family are very important and Israelis prioritize spending quality time with them. There’s the sea, archaeology, history, wonderful food, and a population made up of people from all around the world.
Working conditions in Norway are overwhelmingly in favor of the employee. It’s extremely difficult to be fired, and everyone is entitled to a paid vacation of five weeks. Freedom, caring, honesty, generosity, good government, health, and income are the primary reasons why Norwegians are happy.
Few people are left behind as a result of the combination of a well-integrated government welfare system and a thriving economy. Responsible management of natural resources, the feeling of social support, trust in the government, and economic well-being all contribute to overall happiness.
Sweden is another happy Nordic country. The main cause is not the high GDP per capita though. Swedes do not set unrealistic goals for themselves. They don’t overwork and they make sure to find time to spend with their families and friends. They do not need to wait until the weekend to visit a park.
In general, a meticulous focus on work-life balance leads to a happier population in Sweden. According to another research, Sweden is one of the best countries for women because of an emphasis on social equality that begins at kindergarten, 16 months of paid parental (maternity + paternity) leave that may be split between a couple and free daycare. All these factors contribute to the happiness of the Swedes.
Luxembourg is one of the happiest countries. The country offers a lot of activities, where distances are short and impressions are many. It’s a modest and ancient location in the middle of Europe that is continually evolving and renewing itself.
In Luxembourg, people visit historic sights and fairy-tale castles, enjoy unspoiled natural landscapes, culinary highlights, and cultural diversity. If you decide to live in this county, you can do all of this in a relaxing atmosphere with no long lines and you’ll meet folks who will warmly welcome you.
5. The Netherlands
The Netherlands is a liberal, open, and welcoming country. There is no requirement to understand or speak Dutch in order to be accepted. The residents merit education and appreciate work-life balance.
Working fewer hours and still having a good quality of life is conceivable in Holland. That’s because dual income is not necessary for a comfortable lifestyle.
The Dutch residents also benefit from high levels of physical activity. The Netherlands is a tremendously active country. Just look at Amsterdam, where 63 percent of residents ride their bikes on a daily basis.
Switzerland is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe. But money isn’t the sole reason for Swiss happiness. Fairness, honesty, trust, and good health are what make the country a happy one.
Well, besides these excellent characteristics, let’s not underestimate the role its location and its weather play in the overall happiness level. People spend summers at the lakes and on the beach, as well as mountain climbing and cycling. In the winter, they make use of the ski slopes just outside their door. Every season has something entertaining and exciting to look forward to, so they get the best of both worlds.
One other highlight is that the country boasts one of the lowest obesity rates in Europe. Well, hats off for resisting the temptations Swiss chocolate and Swiss cheese bring to the table.
Long winters and terrible weather may make life difficult, but the Icelandic people are extraordinarily positive and happy. This may very well be the benefit of their culture of acceptance and quality.
A major component of happiness is health, and Iceland’s health system is rather good in comparison to other countries. It has the lowest infant mortality rate and one of the highest life expectancies in the world. The vast majority of its residents have access to high-quality health care. Iceland is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, as well as an athletic population that enjoys getting out in nature. When you’re surrounded by natural beauty, it’s easy to be happy.
The level of social trust in Denmark is exceptionally high. People have faith not just in one another, but also in institutions such as the government, monarchy, hospitals, and the police. Trust is also a crucial aspect of the business world. Unless told otherwise, people are presumed to be trustworthy.
Trust and community values are strongly rooted in Danish culture and society, as well as in Danish history. Denmark has a strong feeling of shared social responsibility. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons behind its social fabric obsessed with equality.
Denmark’s residents pay some of the world’s highest taxes, which can amount to up to half of their income. However, most Danes say that they enjoy paying taxes because they can see what they get in return. In Denmark, the majority of healthcare is supplied at no cost to the patients. University students pay no tuition and are given a stipend to aid with living expenses during their enrolment period.
Finland is listed as the world’s happiest country in 2022. It is home to the world's largest archipelago, as well as Europe's largest lake district and last untamed wilderness, Lapland, which covers around 75% of its surface.
Finnish happiness isn’t just on the surface. It’s also not obvious right away. It’s deeply ingrained in the Finnish people’s DNA. The Finnish superpower is sustained happiness, which means the Finns tend to take life as it comes — a trait that comes in handy in trying times. They value the little pleasures in life, such as sitting quietly on a bench and staring out at an empty lake after a nice sauna session or enjoying a morning dip in the sea before starting the workday.
Helsinki, Finland’s capital, is known for its design and architecture. Finland is also quite a safe place to visit. When we say safe, it’s safe! 11 out of every 12 lost wallets are returned to their owner.
What Makes a Country Happy?
- 🌞 Strong sense of community and social support networks
🏥 Accessible healthcare and education
🌳 Abundance of green spaces and natural beauty
👥 Low levels of inequality and discrimination
💼 Stable economy and employment opportunities
🏠 Secure and affordable housing
🎓 Emphasis on lifelong learning and personal development
👪 Strong family values and social cohesion
🎭 Rich cultural heritage and artistic expression
👮 Effective and trustworthy government institutions
🌎 Strong environmental protections and sustainability efforts
😊 Positive and inclusive national identity and pride
World’s Happiest Countries: The Bottom Line
There you have it; an overview of the happiest countries. Now, all you need to do is pick the color of your pill and pack your bags to one of these happy destinations.
Have you ever lived in one of the above happiest countries? Are people really happy there? Were you? Let us know in the comments below…
Happiest Countries – Top 20
1. Finland (7.821)
2. Denmark (7.636)
3. Iceland (7.557)
4. Switzerland (7.512)
5. Netherlands (7.415)
6. Luxembourg* (7.404)
7. Sweden (7.384)
8. Norway (7.365)
9. Israel (7.364)
10. New Zealand (7.200)
11. Austria (7.163)
12. Australia (7.162)
13. Ireland (7.041)
14. Germany (7.034)
15. Canada (7.025)
16. United States (6.977)
17. United Kingdom (6.943)
18. Czechia (6.920)
19. Belgium (6.805)
20. France (6.687)
How Is Happiness Measured?
Let’s take a look at how happiness levels are measured in this study for the above rankings.
The collected statistics represent survey data from thousands of respondents in each country, who are asked to evaluate their subjective well-being (happiness score) on the Cantril life ladder question.
The report also performs regression analysis to see whether happiness ratings could be explained in terms of tangible and intangible factors that might influence them:
- Life expectancy
- GDP per capita
- Social support
- Freedom to make life choices
- Perceptions of corruption
- Positive and negative affects
Since 2020, the report pays particular attention to how COVID-19 has impacted certain aspects of our daily lives and global happiness levels.
The UN General Assembly adopted resolution 65/309 on happiness in July 2011, calling for member nations to track the well-being of their people and use the data to assist in public policymaking.
As a result, the first World Happiness Report was published on April 1, 2012, as a precursor to the UN High-Level Meeting: “Well-being and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm,” which drew worldwide attention.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is happiness measured for a person?
There are various ways to measure happiness, but one of the most common methods is the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. This scale measures a person's ladder of life, or how they feel about their lives on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the best possible life and 0 being the worst possible life.
How is happiness measured for a country?
A country's happiness can be measured using the World Happiness Report, which is published annually by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The report ranks countries based on how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, using data from the Gallup World Poll. The report looks at six factors: GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.
What are some of the factors that contribute to a country's happiness?
There are many factors that contribute to a country's happiness, but some of the most important include income, health, social support, freedom, and trust.
What is the happiest country in the world?
The happiest country in the world in 2022 is Finland, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland. These countries have consistently ranked among the top five since the World Happiness Report was first published in 2012.
Why is Finland the happiest country in the world?
There are many reasons why Finland is the happiest country in the world one being that Finns have a strong sense of social support, which comes from family, friends, and the government. Another reason is that Finland has a high GDP per capita, which means that Finns enjoy a high standard of living. Additionally, Finland ranks highly on measures of freedom and trust, which contribute to a feeling of happiness and satisfaction.
Why are Danish people so happy?
There are many reasons why Danish people are so happy one being that Denmark has a high GDP per capita, which means that Danish people enjoy a high standard of living. Additionally, Denmark ranks highly on measures of freedom and trust, which contribute to a feeling of happiness and satisfaction.
What is the world's happiest country for children?
The happiest country in the world for children is Norway, followed by Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland. These countries have consistently ranked among the top four since the World Happiness Report was first published in 2012.
How does the US rank on the list of the World Happiness Report?
The US ranks 19th on this year's report, down one spot from last year. Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland top the list as the world's happiest countries.
What is the saddest country in the world?
There is no definitive answer to this question as what makes a country happy varies from person to person. However, there are some factors that tend to contribute to happiness, such as a strong sense of community, a stable government, a healthy economy, and access to education and healthcare. Good examples to factors that push countries to the very bottom of the list include lack of institutional trust, lack of universal health care, and disputes with neighboring countries.
What is the most relaxed country?
There's no definitive answer to this question, as what one person may deem as the most relaxed country may not be seen as such by another. However, based on various factors - including average hours worked per week, vacation days, and overall happiness levels - these 15 nations are generally considered to be the most relaxed countries in the world.
- New Zealand
- The United States
European countries dominate the list, while Northern Europe is significantly ahead, dominating the top spot year after year in a row.
The happiest countries in the world are countries like Finland, Denmark, and Norway, which all have a cold climate, why is that?
One theory is that cold weather forces people to spend more time indoors, which leads to more social interaction and bonding. In fact, a study by the University of British Columbia found that people who live in colder climates are more likely to report higher levels of happiness than those who live in warmer climates.
Where is the happiest community in the world with the highest life satisfaction?
This is a question that many people have asked over the years. The answer to this question is not an easy one, as there are many factors that contribute to happiness. However, there are some countries that consistently rank high on global surveys of happiness as can be seen in the list above.
Which countries have the happiest doctors?
The happiest doctors in the world are found in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, according to a new study. Similar to the overall happiness, each of the top three is a Northern European country.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, looked at data from more than 100 countries and found that those three countries had the highest levels of doctor satisfaction.
The study's authors say that the findings could be due to the fact that physicians in those countries have better working conditions, including more support from colleagues and patients who are more likely to follow their advice. The authors continue to say that the findings could also be due to the fact that physicians in those countries have better working conditions, including more support from colleagues and patients who are more likely to follow their advice.
The study's authors say that the findings could be due to the fact that physicians in those countries have better working conditions, including more support from colleagues and patients who are more likely to follow their advice. In other words, doctors in these countries are happier because they feel like they're making a difference.
Are people in developed countries happier than people in developing countries?
No definitive answer exists, as levels of happiness depend on a number of factors. That said, arguments for both sides exist.
Some studies suggest that people in developed countries are generally happier than those in developing nations. One reason for this may be that people in developed countries have access to more resources and opportunities. For example, they may have higher incomes and better education.
Others claim that happiness levels in developing countries are actually higher than in developed nations. This is because people in developing countries have closer family ties and stronger community bonds. Additionally, they may appreciate the simple things in life more than those in developed countries.
It is difficult to say definitively whether people in developed or developing countries are happier.
Why are developed countries not the happiest countries in the world?
It's a common misconception that the world's happiest country is also the most developed. However, this is not always the case. In fact, many of the happiest countries are actually developing countries.
One reason for this may be that developed countries tend to have higher expectations for happiness. Because they are more affluent, they often expect more from life and are not as easily satisfied with what they have. Additionally, developed countries often have higher rates of crime and violence, which can take a toll on residents' well-being.
In contrast, developing countries tend to have simpler lifestyles and fewer material possessions. This can lead to a more content way of life and appreciation for the little things. Additionally, many developing countries have strong social support systems, which can help buffer against life's stressors and provide more life satisfaction.
So, while developed countries may have more to offer in terms of material wealth, this does not always lead to higher levels of happiness. Instead, it seems that a simpler way of life may be key to finding contentment.
Why doesn’t Germany rank among the happiest countries in the world?
Germany is not among the happiest countries in the world because of its high income inequality. Germany has a Gini coefficient of 0.31, which is higher than the OECD average of 0.29. This means that there is a wider gap between the rich and the poor in Germany than in most other developed countries. Income inequality may be one of the reasons why Germany is not among the happiest countries in the world.
What is the happiest city in the US?
There are a number of ways to answer this question, but one important metric is the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. According to this index, the happiest city in the US is Boulder, Colorado.
Boulder ranks highly on a number of measures of well-being, including physical health, emotional health, work satisfaction, and community engagement.
So if you're looking for a happy place to live, Boulder may be a good option!
What are the happiest cities in the world?
There's no definitive answer to this question, as happiness is subjective and what makes one person happy may not necessarily make another person happy. However, there are some cities that tend to be consistently ranked among the happiest in the world.
Some of the happiest cities in the world include Copenhagen, Denmark; Geneva, Switzerland; and Vienna, Austria. These cities boast low crime rates, high levels of social cohesion, and access to amenities that contribute to a high quality of life.