- Happiness score: 6.354
Spain sits on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, just north of Algeria and Morocco. Although the job market has struggled in recent years, its high-quality, single-payer health care system, which was listed as the seventh best in the world by the World Health Organization, is affordable and universal to all citizens.
- Happiness score: 6.374
On the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia along the Persian Gulf lie Qatar and its capital city of Doha—a growing Middle Eastern metropolis and future host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The region has low taxes and is rated highly in the categories of business freedom, personal safety, and quality of health care.
#28. Saudi Arabia
- Happiness score: 6.375
Located south of Iraq in the center of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is a mixture of mountainous regions and sprawling desert between the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Although the absolute monarchy has strict rules limiting personal freedoms—particularly those of women—and a poor track record with human rights, it offers an excellent road system, great health care, good salaries, reasonable working hours, and lower cost of living than many of its neighboring Gulf countries.
- Happiness score: 6.436
Guatemala has faced significant challenges over the years, including violent crime, rampant government corruption, and extreme poverty. Yet the people of this small Central American nation, which sits just south of Mexico, consistently remain some of the happiest folks on Earth. This can be attributed to a combination of strong community involvement, lots of physical activity, and widespread presence of religious faith—the latter being a mix of Catholicism and Mayan spirituality.
- Happiness score: 6.444
Lining the western coastline of the southern half of South America, Chile is a stunning nation full of natural wonders—including rivers and valleys, lakes, forests, and the famous Patagonia mountain ranges. Although it suffered for decades under the horrific dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, Chile has been inching closer to full democracy in recent years. In fact, the United Nations' HDI listed it as a “flawed democracy” in 2017, meaning it has free and fair elections but with limits—such as media censorship, low participation, and underdeveloped political culture.
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- Happiness score: 6.446
Taiwan is a sovereign island nation lying just east of China. The country climbed up a notch from last year, when it was seven slots up from the year prior. These improvements show happiness in Taiwan isn't just widespread—it's growing.
- Happiness score: 6.592
With more tourists than any other country on Earth, the world is clearly drawn to the picturesque Western European country. Yet the French have a long history of being labeled as gloomy and morose. Polling from multiple sources suggests the tides may be shifting.
- Happiness score: 6.595
Mexico is the world’s second-highest ranked country on the NEF's Happy Planet Index. According to NEF, the high ranking can be largely attributed to the “massive steps” the country has taken in recent years to improve the health of its people, most notably when it passed universal health care legislation in 2012.
- Happiness score: 6.726
This island nation sits south of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by a pool of beautiful blue-green waters. The country is holding in the same position as last year, excelling especially in the categories of “social support” and “freedom to make life choices.”
#21. United Arab Emirates
- Happiness score: 6.825
Located south of Qatar on the Persian Gulf, this Middle Eastern country is most famous for its dazzling capital city of Dubai, world-renowned modern architecture, luxury hotels, and bustling nightlife. The nation reaps considerable economic benefits due to its sizeable oil wealth, which figures into the country’s happiness ranking.
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