The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. Its latest edition, published last week by the United Nations, ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants.
As in the previews four years, Switzerland is listed among the top ranking countries. All top countries tend to have high values for the following key variables that have been found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity. Among the top countries, differences are small enough that year-to-year changes in the rankings are to be expected. While Switzerland won first place in 2015, it had to give up its top position and now ranks fifth, shortly after Iceland (4th), Denmark (3rd), Norway (2nd) and winner Finland.
“Happiness seems contagious”
For the first time in its history, the report also looked at the happiness levels of a country’s immigrant population. The top ten nations in the ranking all scored high both in overall happiness and the happiness of immigrants. “Happiness seems contagious,” thus commented John Helliwell, a co-editor of the report.