#20. Czech Republic
- Happiness score: 6.852
Famous for its castle-filled capital of Prague (the “City of a Hundred Spires”), the Czech Republic sits between Poland and Germany to the north and Austria to the south. The Eastern European country comes in at just over 7 on average life ladder scores, with low marks for faith in government but high ratings for democratic quality.
#19. United States
- Happiness score: 6.892
As the United Kingdom gets happier, people in the United States are reporting decreased happiness levels for the third year in a row. At #19, the country is down one spot from the 2018 list, when it had dropped four spots from the year prior. A separate Gallup poll reflected a similar drop in happiness between 2016 and 2017—the biggest since the organization began tracking the numbers.
- Happiness score: 6.923
Just north of Luxembourg is Belgium, known for its world-class beer and delectable chocolate treats. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Belgium scores above average in numerous quality-of-life factors, including income, work-life balance, health, education, and civic engagement.
- Happiness score: 6.985
Coming in at #17 on the list, Germany performs well on many major happiness indicators. The people are healthy, with access to universal health care and an average life expectancy of 81 years. The populace is also well-educated: 86% of adults between the ages of 25 and 64 have completed upper-secondary education. This can partly be attributed to the country’s 2014 decision to abolish tuition fees for undergraduate students at all public universities.
- Happiness score: 7.021
Ireland has good water quality and a low unemployment rate, which hovered at 5.3% in October 2018. More than two decades after the IRA ceasefire of 1994, the country is now listed #10 worldwide on the IEP's Global Peace Index.
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#15. United Kingdom
- Happiness score: 7.054
The United Kingdom has struggled economically in recent years amid rising inflation and ongoing Brexit negotiations. Nevertheless, the Western European country has reported climbing happiness metrics every year since the Office for National Statistics began keeping track in 2011, with greater satisfaction levels in England than in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
- Happiness score: 7.090
Nestled in between Belgium, France, and Germany, the tiny country of Luxembourg enjoys lush green countrysides and a charming mix of cultures. As one of the world’s major financial centers, the country consistently ranks in the top-five richest countries in the world.
- Happiness score: 7.139
Tucked amid the cradle of civilization is Israel’s rich geography including high mountain ranges, low fertile valleys, sprawling deserts, and coastal plains. The Middle Eastern nation has a high life expectancy that has increased more than two full years since 2006 and an exceptional universal health care system that’s been running for over 20 years.
#12. Costa Rica
- Happiness score: 7.167
Things are good in this peaceful Central American country, which abolished its army in 1948 and offers universal health care to its citizens—earning it the nickname the "Switzerland of Central America." It’s filled with lush rainforests, mountainous volcanoes, and sunny tropical beaches, boasting 6% of the world's biodiversity. The "pura vida" nation was ranked the "happiest country in the world" by the NEF's Happy Planet Index.
- Happiness score: 7.228
With its sunny beaches and sprawling outback that draws millions of tourists every year, Australia is often ranked highly for its citizens' quality of life. The country has high-quality drinking water, above-average voter turnout rates, and only 1.4% of the labor force has been unemployed for a year or longer. Furthermore, when asked if they knew someone they could rely on in time of need, 94% of Australians questioned responded “yes.”
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