What is Happiness & Top 15 happiest countries in the world

What is Happiness, how to measure happiness?

The Greek philosopher Aristotle talked about two kinds of happiness: hedonic, meaning pleasure gained from experiences, that kind of instant gratification. Then there’s eudemonic happiness, which is more related to sustained happiness, self-realization, and a sense of well-being. If you are happy and you know it…you might be wrong. There’s this thing called the “pleasure paradox”, which is you thinking certain things make you happy when they don’t. Then there’s “synthetic happiness,” which is our brains convincing us we are happy when we are not, just because reality would hurt too much. Despite the difficulties of measuring the happiness of one-person, entire countries are judged for their happiness. There’s even a World Map of Happiness. Today, we’ll look at the leaders of the world in happiness, in this Infographics Show, Top 15 Happiest Countries in The World. The World Happiness Report takes 156 countries and measures their happiness by six variables: income and what you can do with it; life expectancy; social support & safety nets; personal freedoms; trust, in terms of how you trust the government or police, laws, or even matters related to business, basically how people perceive corruption; and lastly, generosity, as in charity and how much is shared or given away. Around 2,000 to 3,000 people in every country are asked to answer questions based on these variables. At the bottom of this year’s list were Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Burundi, so people in those countries likely have a hard time for the most part.


The top 15 happiest countries in the world,

15. Germany:

Cost of living in Germany is reasonable, and with a high GDP and powerful industry, there's much room to try to well in Germany. One American writer on Quora who had lived in Germany praised the country, saying, “Infrastructure is excellent as is anything that has to do with technology. You feel the high-tech everywhere you go. Both the cities and the countryside make you feel like you are living on a very advanced planet.” Ok, so it’s organized to a degree that is annoying at times, as some say, overly bureaucratic, but if you work hard here you will likely have many opportunities. On the downside, the American ex-pat said Germans are way too afraid of all kinds of authority, making life oppressive at times.


14. Ireland:

Many English people hop over to Ireland and say, “Oh, what a gorgeous country…and the people are so friendly.” It’s said the Irish like having a good time, enjoying what they call the Craic (pronounced crack). Ok, so there were troubles not long ago, and to some, that might make Ireland look rather grim, but nowadays, according to OECD, the economy is good, average earnings are good, and it seems things in Ireland, in almost all categories, are just getting better. One other thing that is said to be good in Ireland is community spirit and the fact that people can rely on that community. It’s also a bonus if you travel to America, ‘cos everyone there seems to love a real Irish person. 


13. Costa Rica:

This is some accomplishment by Costa Rica, given that it’s the only country in this part of the world to make the list. We don’t just mean Central America, but South America, too. What’s so good about the country? The Huffington Post writes about this favourite tourist and ex-pat haunt, saying the life is just good, good and good here. Life expectancy is high, state healthcare is said to be great, and the economy is strong at the moment. It’s also said that the country has a very fair and democratic government, with not much corruption compared to nearby countries. According to the US government, crime is pretty low too, especially for this region of the world. There were 603 homicides in 2017, which am not bad really- and that was a record high. 



This country has few poor people. It ranks high in income standards, housing standards, health, well-being, crime, or lack thereof, environmental quality, and education. There’s hardly any crime, and you have great scenery all over the place. What’s more, Austria is a pretty place to live. In some surveys, Vienna has ranked the best place to live in the world. 



If you think that because of ongoing conflicts, Israel is a crappy place to live, you are wrong. The average income of most people is good, and life expectancy is very high. Although, OECD says education and skills, housing standards, environmental quality, how much you work, and your social connections are all below average. People work too much we are told, but what you get for your money is not too bad.  



Ever watched the TV shows “Neighbors” or “Home and Away”? If you had, you might think living here was a walk in the park. It seems you don’t work too much, and spend half your life at the beach, or at least in those shows anyway. If you’ve ever listened to Nick Cave, the Australian musician, you might have a different opinion. It’s expensive, but wages are good. The economy is great, the sun shines a lot, and the crime rate isn’t that high. The country just experienced its lowest murder rate ever, according to The Guardian. Don’t believe everything you see in those outback murder movies.



We bet you knew Sweden would appear on this list. With good wages and a robust economy, Sweden is doing fine. You pay loads of taxes, but you get a lot back for that. We like what this person said on Quora, “Swedes also don’t attempt to ‘keep up with the Joneses.’ Social competitiveness is not part of its national ethos. This means that they are more content with what they have, and living their own lives the way they see fit.” That seems like the recipe for a good life if, indeed, you have all the necessities and most Swedes seem to have those. Another Swede backed that up, saying that there are few posh areas in the country and few deprived areas, unlike most countries in the world that have virtually no-go areas and areas for the rich only.


 8.New Zealand:

New Zealand media wrote in 2015 that the country has “the world's third-highest material standard of living”. They might not earn as much as people from some other countries, but they get a lot for their money. Education is excellent, healthcare is free, and you’ve got that amazing countryside that you may have seen in the Lord of the Rings movies. Nonetheless, the Guardian writes that some get left behind, and poverty is a shameful secret of the country. “Catch a bus or two from Britomart in central Auckland, and after an hour and a half, you will arrive in the urban slum of South Auckland”, said the article. 



So, what about the Canucks, do they have poverty? Anyone who’s ventured into the meanest streets of Toronto or Montreal can tell you of course they do. But on the whole, Canada has a good distribution of wealth, not much crime, not much discrimination, considering it’s so diverse, and good education. If you come from a poor country and visit parts of Ottawa, you might think you are living in a kind of wonderland. Ok, so some parts of the country seem Canada dull and downtrodden, but in general, most people agree that Canada is just cool, if not too cold in parts. 



Talking about dull, the Netherlands can be a bit grey at times. But OECD says this, “The Netherlands ranks top in work-life balance and above the average in income and wealth, jobs and earnings, housing, education and skills, subjective well-being, social connections, atmosphere quality, personally secure, civic engagement, and health status.” you'll say, in some respects, the Netherlands is analogous to Canada therein many of us often have a liberal attitude. That means a lot in terms of happiness. They eat well, embrace fun, cycle around a lot, and if you should fall off that bike, they have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. It’s free of course, but your employer will take some cash for the mandatory healthcare system.



It might be one of the most expensive places to live in the world, but it’s also home to people who, for the most part, can afford it. “If income is that the benchmark for living standards, then Switzerland is that the third best-placed country in Europe,” writes Swiss Info. There is free healthcare, free education, a stable political climate, and almost no crime. On Quora, someone called the country “heaven on Earth.” If you can afford it, you’ve also got that amazing countryside you can wander around. Bergen tells us only one in 13 people live below the poverty line. 



The home of great musicians such as Bjork and Sager Ros, but also the home of 86 per cent of people that have a job, if they are at an employable age. Life expectancy is high, at 83. Saying that we found a source that said Icelanders are dying to live abroad. Maybe all that fresh air isn’t always a good thing. BTW, Ireland, also on our list, was number one for citizens that move abroad. 



Flat, grey Denmark- could it be all that happy? Well, like it's neighbour Sweden, Denmark folks just have a great safety net. It’s hard to be poor there, like, really poor. But one source says it’s not all about money, but more the culture, and also the leisure time and family life that people enjoy. There were only 39 murders in 2017; meanwhile, California had 1,930 murders in 2016.



Norway is happy, despite some of those living in the north spending months in darkness. If you’ve taken a trip to this magical country, you’ll know something else: it’s unbelievably expensive. Still, there’s hardly any poverty; you will likely live a long time (81.3 is the average), and if you live there as an adult, there is little chance you’ll be unemployed, and if you have a job, you’ll likely earn enough to afford the expensive meals for two. There is virtually no poverty here, and we don’t mean relative poverty, but people in the streets begging or pushing trolleys down the street. Free healthcare, a great system of education, a healthy environment, who wouldn’t want to live here?



So the top of the list has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed world. Go figure. This is one reason we said at the start that happiness is hard to measure. Is it the lack of sun, or the Sami culture of men not being able to express their emotions? We don’t know, but Finland enjoys a maverick educational system where students study less and learn more, great healthcare, a vibrant economy, and good infrastructure. The Economist tried to explain why Fins are so happy and the answer was people just have it easy. They trust their government, trust their police, believe in their teachers, have little discrimination, have equal opportunities, a good spread of wealth, and hardly any crime. Now, we just need to figure out why so many Fins are offing themselves.

So, do you live in one of these countries? Does it seem like life is happy there? Let us know in the comments!

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