Destinations

World’s happiest countries revealed (but Australia fails to make top 10)

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

The United Nations (UN) has released its list of the happiest nations worldwide, as rated by their citizens, with Australia failing to make the top 10.

In forming its list of the happiest countries in the world, the UN established that a balance of income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity were important values in a citizen’s determinant of happiness.

The rankings of country happiness were based this year on the pooled results from Gallup World Poll surveys from 2016 to 2018, with an overwhelming consensus of Scandinavian citizens being among the happiest in the world.

Topping the list, formed in conjunction with global Gallup Poll data from 2016 to 2018, was Finland, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands.

Outside of the top 10, Australia was considered the 11th happiest country in the world, while the United States was driven outside of the top 15 nations in the world; rated the 19th happiest country globally.

New Zealand fared well, with its citizens’ rankings putting the nation at 8th on the ladder – ahead of Canada, Austria and Australia respectively, but just behind Sweden (7th) and Switzerland (6th).

To equate a value to happiness, the poll used three happiness measures – life evaluations, positive affect, and negative affect – with one key question used to determine life evaluations:

“Please imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?”

Measurements from zero to 10 are referred to as belonging to a Cantril Ladder – zero being the lowest value and 10 being the highest– which was also used to equate for positive affect and negative affect.

In determining a rating of positive affect, the category included the average frequency of happiness, laughter and enjoyment on the previous day; while negative affect comprised the average frequency of worry, sadness and anger on the previous day.

You can check out the UN World Happiness Report 2019 in full here.

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