- Happiness score: 6.182
Although Poland has been through its fair share of political turmoil, particularly after World War II, the Central European country has maintained relatively high levels of happiness. This may partly be attributed to its attitude of “Jakoś to będzie,” loosely translated as “things will work out in the end.”
#39. Trinidad & Tobago
- Happiness score: 6.192
This beautiful set of twin islands off the coast of Venezuela looks like a tropical paradise, complete with aqua-blue water and rolling white sands. It's no wonder people are cheery here, given the country's many colorful festivals, lively musical performances, and vibrant culinary scene.
- Happiness score: 6.198
Just below Poland, the nation of Slovakia sits amid the stunning Tatras mountains—the highest mountain range in the Carpathians. According to a 2017 TASR newswire Social Progress Index, the Eastern European country has dramatically improved its basic needs indicators, such as clean drinking water, nutrition, hygiene, personal safety, healthcare, and access to information.
- Happiness score: 6.199
With high salaries and a thriving expat community, this Persian Gulf nation off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, enjoys widespread financial stability and a large degree of wealth. On top of that, a new law in 2018 mandates a national health care insurance system for every resident.
- Happiness score: 6.223
Famed for its cobbled streets, delicious pasta dishes, and cultural landmarks, Italy never slumps far below many of its European neighbors in happiness rankings. The country offers decent rent prices (outside of big cities) and some of the best weather in the region. The city with the best quality of life is Bolzano, according to a recent study that examined factors including crime, health services, job opportunities, and social distress.
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#35. El Salvador
- Happiness score: 6.253
El Salvador sits below Guatemala in a region full of picturesque mountain ranges and sprawling coastlines. Though it has long suffered from gang violence that’s left it with some of the highest murder rates in the world, the gang activity is concentrated in certain municipalities—with other parts of the country enjoying higher safety and security. In a 2017 Gallup poll of Central America, Salvadorans reported the highest increase in satisfaction in the past decade, with 44% saying they were happy.
- Happiness score: 6.262
Just off the southern coast of Malaysia sits Singapore, a vibrant island city-state with a cosmopolitan vibe. The city has been ranked #1 in Asia multiple times for quality of living, according to a Mercer survey. In the same study, it was named best in the world for city infrastructure, and in 2018 it landed #8 worldwide on the Institute for Economics & Peace's (IEP) Global Peace Index.
- Happiness score: 6.293
Uruguay is situated east of Argentina, north of the mouth of the surging Rio de La Plata. The small South American nation is famous for its socially progressive policies and, as of 2017, was the only country in Latin America to be listed as a full democracy on The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index.
- Happiness score: 6.300
Brazil is South America’s largest country, covering 3.28 million square miles of terrain. Poverty and corruption are major issues in Brazil, but its people are nevertheless determined to keep their chins up. In 2017, the Fundação Getúlio Vargas organization launched an initiative called the Well Being Brazil Index to begin quantifying and tracking happiness in various cities with the goal of improving its citizens' quality of life.
- Happiness score: 6.321
Located south of Costa Rica nine degrees north of the equator, Panama acts as a bridge between Central and South America. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, yet scores high points on virtually every happiness survey in which it participates. In 2014, it was named the world’s happiest country in a poll by Gallup and Healthways Global, towering over all other nations by 17 percentage points.
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