The Happiest Countries in the World

Perhaps the big question isn't how to be happy, but where to be happy. An entire country probably can't be entirely happy, but some countries are happier than others.

There is evidence that those who have happier lives are likely to live longer, be more trusting, be more cooperative, and be generally better able to meet life's demands, according to the World Happiness Report 2018, an annual publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The survey of the state of global happiness ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, asking people to rate their lives on a scale of zero to 10, where the worst is zero and the best 10.

Factors considered in the report to contribute to happiness include: the GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.

Each country is compared against a hypothetical nation called Dystopia, which represents the lowest national averages for each key variable. Think Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" or Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World."

Out the 156 countries surveyed in the report, these are the happiest. And in case you're wondering, the U.S. comes in at No. 18.

Above, a family has a picnic outdoors in Rotorua, New Zealand, the eighth happiest country.

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Finland
1. Finland

1. Finland

All the top countries tend to have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity. Finland is also the happiest country for immigrants, the report says.

Photo: Roman Babakin / Shutterstock

2. Norway
2. Norway

2. Norway

Above, a man and woman wear traditional Norwegian costumes.

Photo: KatrineAanensen / Shutterstock

3. Denmark
3. Denmark

3. Denmark

Pictured is Sandavagur village on Denmark's Faroe Islands.

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Iceland
4. Iceland

4. Iceland

Above, people bathe in the hot waters of a geothermal bath resort on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland.

Photo: Roberto La Rosa / Shutterstock

5. Switzerland
5. Switzerland

5. Switzerland

Pictured is a viewpoint along the Eiger trail and the 13,015-foot Eiger mountain in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland.

Photo: Bob Pool / Shutterstock

6. Netherlands
6. Netherlands

6. Netherlands

Photo: Dennis van de Water / Shutterstock

7. Canada
7. Canada

7. Canada 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police ride in a Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Ottawa, Canada.

Photo: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock

8. New Zealand
8. New Zealand

8. New Zealand

A farmer and his dog in the remote West Coast of New Zealand.

Photo: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock

9. Sweden
9. Sweden

9. Sweden

Midsummer is celebrated with dancing around the maypole in Sweden.

Photo: Sussi Hj / Shutterstock

10. Australia
10. Australia

10. Australia

Photo: LittlePanda29 / Shutterstock

11. Israel
11. Israel

11. Israel

Above, people float in the waters of the Dead Sea in Israel.

Photo: Oleg Golovnev / Shutterstock

12. Austria
12. Austria

12. Austria

Pictured is a Christmas market in Vienna.

Photo: Shutterstock

13. Costa Rica
13. Costa Rica

13. Costa Rica

A sloth in a rescue center in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Photo: Shutterstock

14. Ireland
14. Ireland

14. Ireland

Ireland President Michael D. Higgins throws a pitch for the Liam Miller Tribute at a stadium in Cork, Ireland.

Photo: D. Ribeiro / Shutterstock

15. Germany
15. Germany

15. Germany

Pictured is Hamburg, Germany.

Photo: Shutterstock

16. Belgium
16. Belgium

16. Belgium

A cyclist in rides in the countryside in Flanders, Belgium.

Photo: Shutterstock

17. Luxembourg
17. Luxembourg

17. Luxembourg

Photo: Shutterstock

18. United States
18. United States

18. United States

Photo: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

19. United Kingdom
19. United Kingdom

19. United Kingdom

Photo: Dave Smith 1965 / Shutterstock

20. United Arab Emirates
20. United Arab Emirates

20. United Arab Emirates

Above, the UAE National Day celebration parade in downtown Dubai in 2015.

Photo: Frankris / Shutterstock

21. Czech Republic
21. Czech Republic

21. Czech Republic

A girl wears a traditional costume during The Ride of the Kings, which takes place in spring in four Czech towns as a part of the Pentecost traditions.

Photo: Tomas Pecold / Shutterstock

22. Malta
22. Malta

22. Malta

Photo: Shutterstock

23. France
23. France

23. France

Above, fans turn out to watch France's World Cup win in 2018.

Photo: samanthainalaohlsen / Shutterstock

24. Mexico
24. Mexico

24. Mexico

Above, children play in in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Photo: carlos.araujo / Shutterstock

25. Chile
25. Chile

25. Chile

Pictured is Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.

Photo: Shutterstock

26. Taiwan
26. Taiwan

26. Taiwan 

Photo: Keitma / Shutterstock

27. Panama
27. Panama

27. Panama

Photo: Marek Poplawski / Shutterstock

28. Brazil
28. Brazil

28. Brazil

Photo: Jefferson Bernardes / Shutterstock

29. Argentina
29. Argentina

29. Argentina

Photo: Shutterstock

30. Guatemala
30. Guatemala

30. Guatemala

Boys fly kites on All Saints Day in Santiago Sacatepequez, Guatemala .

Photo: Lucy Brown - loca4motion / Shutterstock

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