This is the world’s happiest country in 2016

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

If there's one thing that unites us all it's the search for happiness.

Today, on the cusp of World Happiness Day (20 March), a new survey by the UN has unveiled where in the world people are the most content with life and Denmark has topped the list.

With its long summer nights, egalitarian ethos and focus on "hygge" - which means cosiness, camaraderie and contentment - the country regularly cements its position at the top of every global quality-of-life survey. This year it has reclaimed the number one spot for happiness after losing to Switzerland in 2015.

The other Scandinavian countries ranked high on the list with Iceland taking third place, Norway taking fourth, and Finland taking fifth.

Canada (sixth), New Zealand (eighth) and Australia (ninth) are the only non-European countries in the list. 

The UK came 23rd on the list, behind Singapore (22nd), Ireland (19th) and Germany (16th).

Totally hygge: outdoor cafe seating in Copenhagen, Denmark

Totally hygge: outdoor cafe seating in Copenhagen, Denmark

The World Happiness Report which has been created by the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) since 2012 and it considers happiness to be a better indicator of human welfare than income, poverty, education, health and good government. 

The survey takes factors into consideration such as "freedom to make life choices", "generosity" and "perceptions of corruption" alongside social support and GDP per capita to calculate a happiness level for 157 countries.

This year the study found that people are happier living in societies where there is less inequality of happiness and that the inequality has increased significantly between 2005-2011 to 2012-2015. 

The five least happiest countries were found to be Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi.

Top 25 happiest countries in 2015

  1. Denmark (7.526)
  2. Switzerland (7.509)
  3. Iceland (7.501)
  4. Norway (7.498)
  5. Finland (7.413)
  6. Canada (7.404)
  7. Netherlands (7.339)
  8. New Zealand (7.334)
  9. Australia (7.313)
  10. Sweden (7.291)
  11. Israel (7.267)
  12. Austria (7.119)
  13. United States (7.104)
  14. Costa Rica (7.087)
  15. Puerto Rico (7.039)
  16. Germany (6.994)
  17. Brazil (6.952)
  18. Belgium (6.929)
  19. Ireland (6.907)
  20. Luxembourg (6.871)
  21. Mexico (6.778)
  22. Singapore (6.739)
  23. United Kingdom (6.725)
  24. Chile (6.705)
  25. Panama (6.701)

None of the above? Tell us what makes you happy in the comments below.


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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.

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