Researchers pinpoint the world's happiest country - report

Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:44pm EDT
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By Maria Caspani

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Switzerland has the world's happiest people, according to researchers in a study released on Thursday.

In the annual World Happiness Report, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada followed in the rankings that measured happiness and well-being levels in 158 countries.

The study, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), found the most unhappy people lived in Togo, Burundi, Syria, Benin and Rwanda.

"The aspiration of society is the flourishing of its members," said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, where the report was presented.

"This report gives evidence on how to achieve societal well‐being. It's not by money alone, but also by fairness, honesty, trust and good health."

Recognising the importance of happiness and well-being as "universal goals and aspirations in the lives of people around the world," the United Nations General Assembly established The International Day of Happiness in 2012.

The study, which was first released in 2012, looked at such factors as healthy life expectancy, the presence of social support systems, freedom to make choices and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, that determine most of the variations in people's well-being over time and among countries.

For the first time, researchers broke down the data by gender, age and region.   Continued...