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Denmark tops happiest country in the world 2017

Denmark ranks highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance, and comes in second to Norway in this year's World Happiness Report.

The World Happiness Report 2017 is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The report ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels.

Every year, the World Happiness Index surveys numerous people from various countries around the world in search of, as the name implies, which country has the happiest population. This year’s winner is Norway, very closely followed by Denmark, then Iceland and Switzerland. The US is ranked 14th. Denmark falls from the top spot this year do Norways increase in mutual trust, shared purpose, generosity and good governance. 

However, second place is not bad a all when you take into account Denmarks is competing with the entire world.  

World Happiness Report 2017 has placed special focus on the role of social factors in supporting happiness. Even beyond the effects likely to flow through better health and higher incomes, this year’s report weights substantially on the effect from the increase in the numbers of people having someone to count on in times of trouble – social support.

So how do the researchers come up with this list? The process is actually rather simple, as the Index's website explains: "The rankings are based on answers to the main life evaluation question asked in the poll. This is called the Cantril ladder: it asks respondents to think of a ladder, with the best possible life for them being a 10, and the worst possible life being a 0. They are then asked to rate their own current lives on that 0 to 10 scale." Roughly 3000 respondents in each of more than 155 countries have made up the report.

In short, the researchers straight-up asked people to rank their own happiness. These answers are then weighted based on six other factors: levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity by donations, social support, freedom, and corruption.

Here is the best and worst.


The unhappiest countries are Syria at 152th followed by Tanzania and Burundi. Central African Republic comes in last at 155th.

Besides bragging rights, what do these rankings truly tell us? The team believes the report helps countries gauge how ready they are to start pursuing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which include ending poverty and hunger, increasing healthcare and the quality of education, reaching gender equality and many other great, humanitarian goals that would benefit the world.

The team also believes that the index is helpful because it looks at more than just economic factors, like most other world polls do.

You can download the full report, and browse the entire rankings list on the World Happiness Index’s official site.