Disneyland may proclaim itself ‘the happiest place on earth’, but Israel is not that far behind. According to this year’s World Happiness Report, Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world – for the fourth year in a row.
Although Israel ranks behind countries like Norway (1st), Denmark (2nd), Iceland (3rd), Switzerland (4th) and Canada (7th) on the list, it placed ahead of the US (14th), Germany (16th) and the UK (19th). When the report first launched in 2012, Israel was ranked at number 14 out of the countries surveyed, but has held firm on 11th place since then.
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In honor of International Day of Happiness, celebrated annually on March 20th, the World Happiness Report 2017 was released today by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for the United Nations. The report, a worldwide survey of the state of global happiness, ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels.
The report is based on an annual survey of 1,000 people in more than 150 countries that simply asks them to rank, on a scale of 0 to 10, whether they are living their best life.
Researchers then use six measures to try to understand the results: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity/charitable giving, and perceived levels of government and corporate corruption.
“The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables,” the report noted.
Happiest Country: Norway
After ranking fourth for the last two years, Norway jumped three spots and displaced three-time winner Denmark to take the title of “world’s happiest country” for the first time. Denmark dropped to second place this year, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and Sweden. Denmark has won the title three of the four times the report has been issued, while Switzerland has won the title just once.
Meanwhile, the United States came in 14th place, dropping one place from last year.
According to the survey, people in Tanzania (153), Syria (152) and Rwanda (151), are are unhappiest with their lives.
Keys to happiness: Trust in society, strong social foundations
Director of the SDSN and a special adviser to the UN secretary general, Jeffrey Sachs, said in an interview that: “Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government.”
“As demonstrated by many countries, this report gives evidence that happiness is a result of creating strong social foundations,” Sachs said. “It’s time to build social trust and healthy lives, not guns or walls. Let’s hold our leaders to this fact.”