Move Aside Magic Kingdom: These 10 Countries are the Actual Happiest Places on Earth

happy couple goes on a mountain asphalt road in the woods on bikes with helmets giving each other a high five.

Are you looking for a place to be happy? 

There are lots of things you can do if you want to be truly happy, but always remember that happiness breeds happiness. Some countries are just happier than others, so moving to one of them could be the best way to improve your mood. 

Read on for the top 10 happiest countries in the world. 

World Happiness Report 2018

The World Happiness Report measures the state of global happiness. It is conducted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. 156 countries are ranked by their happiness levels, and 117 of them by the happiness of their immigrant population.

All the top countries have high scores in the variables that support happiness. These are healthy life expectancy, income, freedom, trust, social support, and generosity.

1. Finland

With a score of 7.632, Finland has jumped from 5th to 1st for 2018. The 5.5 million Finns enjoy high standards of living. More than 80% of the population trust the police, health-care and education systems.

Not only are the Finnish the happiest people, but they are also the most consistently happy. Social security means that differences between the rich and poor aren’t too large. Finland is also home to the happiest immigrants as well.

It only has an average income per capita ranking only in the mid-20s worldwide, but the Finns know how to get the most happiness out of their more modest wealth. Money isn’t needed to buy happiness in this case.

2. Norway

Norway has fallen from their previous first place to number 2 with a score of 7.594. With a sovereign wealth fund of over $1 trillion, it is one of the worlds richest countries. Norwegians enjoy free healthcare and education and suffer only a small income gap. They also have a high life expectancy.

These are familiar attributes you will find across the Nordic countries. This puts all the Nordics among the 10 happiest countries in the world!

3. Denmark

Coming in 3rd with a score of 7.555 is Denmark. It has slipped a bit since being ranked 1st in 2016, but with such close scores at the top though, it isn’t anything to worry about. Happiness levels are still incredibly high.

Denmark has high scores for work-life balance, healthcare, and environmental protection. It also has one of the smallest wealth gaps in the world and a 100% literacy rate.

4. Iceland

Number 4 is Iceland, coming in with a score of 7.495. It often tops the wide variety of rankings for quality of life. Iceland was voted the best country in the world for gender equality by the World Economic Forum. It was also voted the most peaceful country in 2018 by the Global Peace Index.

With enchanting landscapes and natural hot springs in Iceland, it is one of the most beautiful countries on the list. And this is all here to stay, thanks to it also being one of the most environmentally friendly.

5. Switzerland

At number 5 with a score of 7.487, Switzerland is a great place to call home. It isn’t only valued for its clean air and postcard-perfect landscapes. Switzerland boasts top of the range infrastructure, favorable taxes, and a healthy economy.

Switzerland also comes in at 2nd place in regards to life expectancy. According to the World Health Organization, only Japan beat them. The Swiss can expect to live on average until 83, four more years than Americans.

6. Netherlands

The Netherlands still has a great score of 7.441 in 6th place. They score high in all six measures. The Dutch are more affluent, educated and free to make their own life choices than at any other point in their history.

Even the threat of rising sea levels isn’t enough to bring down the Dutch. They have one of the most extensive flood defense systems in the world.

7. Canada

Always consistent, Canada has stayed in 7th place this year with a score of 7.328.

Although it has the normal high life expectancy and income, it is Canadians strong social ties that secure them their place. The smaller and more tight-knit a community, the happier its members.

If you are looking to move to boost your happiness, Canada may be a good bet. Immigrants are about as happy as the people born locally, with the difference being under 0.1 point out of 10.

8. New Zealand

With a respectable score of 7.324, New Zealand is the number 8 spot.

Most famous for its 30 million sheep (which outnumber the humans 7 to 1) New Zealand has dropped a few places compared to 2017. This is unlikely to last though.

The Government has planned the 2019 ‘Wellbeing Budget’, the first in history. This will focus on improving housing, environmental policy, and child poverty.

9. Sweden

Although further down the list with a score of 7.314, Sweden sits respectably in 9th place. Due to its wealth, strong social support system, lack of corruption and accountability it is always ranked highly.

Their work life balance is also enviable. Maternity leave allows for up to 480 days off at 80% pay! All companies in Sweden also offer a minimum of  25 days paid vacation- longer than almost any other country.

10. Australia

Australia finishes off the top ten with a score of 7.272. Australians may be a little less happy than last year, but are still some of the happiest!

Australia boasts high wages, life expectancy and world-class natural beauty, so it is easy to see why they held on in the top 10.

Altruism plays a huge part in boosting happiness, and Australia shows this well. 40% of Australians registered as volunteers. Australia is one of the most accepting for migrants with it’s foreign-born population the largest in the top ten.

The Happiest Countries in the World

As you can see, there are a few common factors between all ten of the Happiest Countries in the World. While richer countries generally appear higher in the rankings, it is far from the most important element. 

It is equality, life expectancy and fairness that are the most important. Strong social security and education consistently allow the Scandinavian countries to dominate the list.

If hearing about these countries has inspired you to travel, then check out our other articles on travel.

Ink Regrets? 3 Tattoo Removal Options to Consider

The Miracle Supplement: 5 Incredible Benefits of Kratom Leaves