So what country’s citizens are happiest, on average? It helps to be a richer country, not surprisingly. There’s also an abundance of cold weather countries on the top 10 list. Either all that winter darkness isn’t as depressing as it seems, or all the surveys were done in the summer.
In the widest such survey, Gallup asked people to rate their lives from 0 to 10. It found huge differences in global happiness: More than a third of Europeans ranked themselves an 8 or higher. Less than 5% said so in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to polls taken from 2005 to 2011, these were the happiest countries:
- New Zealand
The United States ranks 11th, just after Ireland. The unhappiest countries were Togo (ranked last), Benin, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Comoros, Haiti, Tanzania, Congo and Bulgaria. Bhutan, which pioneered the happiness index, is not included in the Gallup World Poll. (Other surveys rank countries differently from Gallup. To see some of the other rankings, read the full report.)