- Happiness score: 7.246
Nestled in a cluster of six European countries, Austria is known for its elegant castles and Vienna’s traditional Wiener schnitzel dish. The Austrian people report high levels of feeling independent freedom in their everyday lives and report having a positive affect.
- Happiness score: 7.278
The United States’ neighbor to the north repeatedly lands itself on the top 10 list, this year coming in at #9. Aside from its magnificent natural beauty and high-quality universal health care, the Canada enjoys an above average work-life balance. In fact, only 4% of employees reported working “very long hours,” compared to 11% in the U.S. and the 13% average the OECD reports.
#8. New Zealand
- Happiness score: 7.307
Across the Tasman Sea from Australia sits New Zealand, a land made famous for its natural wonders, helped in part because the “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy was filmed there in the late '90s. The laid-back country uses 38.3% renewable energy and was named the second-most peaceful country in the world on IEP's Global Peace Index, topped only by Iceland.
- Happiness score: 7.480
Known for its picturesque alpine meadows and ultra-low taxes, Switzerland has many reasons to be happy. Its infrastructure is fantastic, its economy is soaring, and the health care system is often called the best in the world.
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- Happiness score: 7.488
Filled with some of the most progressive citizens on Earth, the Netherlands boasts a high-functioning universal health care system and above-average life expectancy of 82 years. The forward-thinking European nation was ranked #10 worldwide on the Social Progress Imperative’s (SPI) Social Progress Index, scoring high points for exceptional drinking water, excellent nutrition, great medical care, easy access to information, and expansive civil liberties.
- Happiness score: 7.494
With tax rates lower than the OECD average, Iceland ticks off many of the high quality-of-life boxes. Both health care and education are free, life expectancy at birth is 83 years, and it’s been ranked the most peaceful country on Earth every year since 2008 on the IEP’s Global Peace Index.
- Happiness score: 7.554
Not only is Norway among the happiest places on Earth—it’s one of the most beautiful, too. The country is covered in towering fjords and sweeping coastal lookouts with scenic points that look like they came from postcards. Its citizens have access to free education, high-quality universal health care, and high living wages. In fact, Norway was named the most prosperous country in the world in by the 2015 Legatum Prosperity Index. It was also ranked #1 in the world for democracy by the United Nations' HDI.
- Happiness score: 7.600
One of the three Scandinavian countries topping the list, Denmark is brimming with natural beauty, vast agricultural resources, and is the fifth-most peaceful country in the world. It’s also well-educated: 81% of adults aged 25 to 64 have completed upper secondary education.
- Happiness score: 7.769
At the top of the list sits Finland, another Nordic country which climbed four notches up the ladder last year and is enjoying its second year at #1. The ultra-safe country has low crime rates, fantastic ecological policies, and an extremely well-educated populace: 88% of adults aged 25 to 64 have completed upper-secondary education.
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