The Happiest Countries of the World, Ranked #1 thru #20

I have here a list of the world’s Happiest Countries. Simple Living, social responsibility, education, health care and high voter participation rate looks to be key in determining the happiness of a nations people. I also believe these are the minimal basics for a happy existence. As you scroll down freedom also ranks very high and self determination ranks high on the list as a basic component for happiness. Freedom can never be over stated as I must state it again. LOL. Scroll down and see how your favorite nations stack up.

Is it me or does this list scream Simple Living? As I look at the pictures of the World’s Happiest Countries and read the captions I dream of a simple, minimalist existence with an abundance of clean air and water. Many of the pictures show the country’s beautiful landscapes most near a body of water. That is where I would be, with just the minimal necessities for my happiness, living a beautiful stress free existence. Scroll down and tell me if you get the same feeling.

01 Norway world's Happiest Countries

01 Norway World’s Happiest Countries

For the third year, Norway ranked no. 1 World’s Happiest Countries. With per capita GDP of $54,000 it is among the richest in the world and ranks first in social capital and second in safety and security.


02 Denmark world's Happiest Countries

02 Denmark

Denmark is no. 2 World’s Happiest Countries for the third year. The tiny country ranks first in entrepreneurship and opportunity, based on high levels of social equality, high connectivity and the world’s lowest start-up costs.


03 Australia World's Happiest Countries

03 Australia

Australia has moved up from fifth place World’s Happiest Countries in 2009, the result of excellent education, an efficient government bureaucracy and booming trade in natural resources.


04 New Zealand World's Happiest Countries

04 New Zealand

New Zealand ranks no. 2 in governance, education and personal freedom. No country ranks higher in tolerance for immigrants. (Image of artist Grand Hughes, Napier, N.Z.).


05 Sweden World's Happiest Countries

05 Sweden

High levels of political participation and social equality combine with environmental protection and 123 mobile phones per 100 people to create a tech-savvy socialist paradise.


06 Canada World's Happiest Countries

06 Canada

The most prosperous nation in the Americas, Canada ranks first in personal freedom in the World’s Happiest Countries. As befitting a giant landmass with only 30 million people, Canada is very tolerant and welcoming.


07 Finland World's Happiest Countries

07 Finland

As with its Scandinavian sisters, religion is an afterthought in Finland, with just 13% attending church; yet it ranks 3rd in education and entrepreneurship in the World’s Happiest Countries.


08 Switzerland World's Happiest Countries

08 Switzerland

Number 1 in governance, 2nd in health and economy. Sticking with the Franc rather than going Euro has helped make Switzerland a bastion of stability in shaky Europe right now.


09 Netherlands World's Happiest Countries

09 Netherlands

A robust democracy with broad civil liberties and lots of social cohesion, 90% of the Dutch report deriving daily enjoyment from their natural surroundings.


10 United States World's Happiest Countries

10 United States

An excellent place to start a business, the U.S. also ranks no. 1 in health, a function of high immunizations, clean water and the highest levels of gov’t spending on healthcare.


11 Ireland World's Happiest Countries

11 Ireland

Ireland ranks 35 in economy, with citizens expressing no faith in financial institutions and pessimistic about jobs. That’s balanced out by a no. 3 ranking in safety and security.


12 Iceland World's Happiest Countries

12 Iceland

Remote Iceland is first in safety and security and third in health. Its economy has collapsed to 71st place.


13 United Kingdom World's Happiest Countries

13 United Kingdom

Stagnant economy and little confidence in the financial sector, but the U.K. is relatively well governed and a decent place to be an entrepreneur.


14 Austria World's Happiest Countries

14 Austria

More than 90% of Austrians are happy with their ability to choose the course of their lives, yet only 62% think it is a welcoming country for immigrants.


15 Germany World's Happiest Countries

15 Germany

With 81 million people, Germany is Europe’s biggest country. GDP per capita is $37,000.


16 Singapore World's Happiest Countries

16 Singapore

Singapore ranks no. 1 in economic measures, with a leading per capita GDP of $59,000. The streets are the world’s safest.


17 Belgium World's Happiest Countries

17 Belgium

Surprising that Belgium ranks as high as 17 given that it just took the country’s rival French- and Dutch-speaking halves 541 days to form a new government.


18 France World's Happiest Countries

18 France

France ranks 7th in health care, but 36th in social capital, with very low levels of marriage and religious observance.


19 Hong Kong World's Happiest Countries

19 Hong Kong

Economy is ranked 4th; savings rate of nearly 30%.


20 Taiwan World's Happiest Countries

20 Taiwan

Ranked 9th in education, 12th in economics. Taiwan just edges out Japan in the rankings.