The 2013 ranking of the happiness of people in 156 countries was released recently and aims to inform the work of governments and international agencies. It may also spark ideas in the minds of innovators, entrepreneurs, and other problem solvers. Since the desire for happiness is universal, it helps us all, as individuals and citizens, to know its prevalence, causes, and consequences.
The countries ranked top 5 in the world for happiness are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Sweden. The last 5 are Rwanda, Burundi, Central African Republic, Benin, and finally Togo. Some others in between: 6=Canada, 10=Australia, 11=Israel, 16=Mexico, 17=United States, 24=Brazil, 30=Singapore, 36=Thailand, 38=Spain, 41=South Korea, 43=Japan, 45=Italy, 68=Russia, 87=Ukraine, 93=China, 111=India, 123=Kenya, 143=Afghanistan.
Overall, happiness and generosity have increased slightly over the last 5 years.
Cross-country differences are largely explained by GDP per capita, years of healthy life expectancy, perceptions of corruption, freedom to make life choices, having someone to count on in times of trouble, and prevalence of generosity.
Happiness was found to result in satisfying lives, health, productivity, and social connections. And the benefits accrued to families, workplaces, and communities.
Here's to happiness!