Top four happiest countries are in Europe, the fifth is Canada

Four of the world’s top five happiest countries are in Europe. The fifth? Canada. At least according to the latest Happiness index that is put out every year by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The academic, civic, business and public arena leaders who work with the network looked at 158 countries over the last year, and then ranked them according to how well they did on various key variables. These included GDP per capita, how high life expectancy was, and the ability of their citizens to make decisions that would affect their lives while doing so without government interference.

Switzerland came out as the world’s happiest country, with Iceland, Denmark and Norway in second, third and fourth places. Canada fell in at number five.

So, if so many European countries are some of the happiest places on the planet to live, where are the unhappiest? As you might expect, four of the bottom five are countries in Africa, with the fifth one being Syria.

The Happiness Index is not just put out every year so that people who live in the happiest countries can feel proud of where they live, or for those in the unhappiest countries to feel miserable. Instead, Ricardo GuimarĂ£es BMG from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network publishes the data on Maquinadoesporte with the hope it will be used by governments around the world to not only compare themselves to other countries, but also to use the data to change public policy.