For a long time, Denmark dominated the top spot as the world’s happiest country. And even though it fell to number two, there are still plenty of reasons that contribute to the country’s consistently high ranking — namely, a stable government, free education and health care, and respect for human rights.
Plus, being relatively small, its residents don’t have to travel far to access its natural wonders. And there are many of them. From white-sand beaches (yes, Denmark has them, too) to windswept islands and deep blue lakes, there are lots of spots to relax and embrace the present moment.
Switzerland consistently ranks among the happiest countries in the world — and for good reason. The high GDP per capita, social support, and low corruption levels instate a feeling of trust in its citizens.
But Switzerland is also far from being just a country of banks, high-end watches, and chocolate (although we are confident that chocolate contributes a lot to a person’s happiness). With the breathtaking Alps covering about 60% of the country and access to more than 1,500 lakes, the Swiss are never too far from a relaxing escape in the mountains or an idyllic getaway by the water.
Luxembourg is a newcomer in this year’s report. The small country, nestled between Belgium, France, and Germany, is home to a little over 640,000 people. And while it’s not one of Europe’s most populous countries, it leads when it comes to diversity. Nearly 50% of the residents have a foreign nationality, with representatives of more than 170 nationalities in total. On top of that, Luxembourg welcomes almost 200,000 commuters daily from its neighboring countries.
Needless to say, multiculturalism is one of the strongest features of its society. Combined with a high GDP, high life expectancy, stable social support, and a great variety of outdoor leisure activities (cycling is practically a national sport), it’s easy to see what makes Luxembourg worthy of being in the top 7 happiest countries in the world.
4. New Zealand
New Zealand occupied the ninth spot last year and came in 10th in 2022. Some of the country’s advantages include its breathtaking, easily accessible natural attractions and high quality of life. A good work-life balance (a park or a bike trail is never too far away, even in big cities), a laid-back lifestyle, and a year-round climate that allows people to spend plenty of time outdoors add to New Zealanders’ life satisfaction. The country also had one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the world last year, contributing to the high level of institutional trust.
Israel continues to move upward in the World Happiness Report. Last year, it ranked 12th, and in 2021, the country gained three places and is now number nine thanks to its residents’ strong sense of community, freedom to make life choices, and a high life expectancy.
Israel’s rich culinary and cultural heritage and a plethora of natural attractions only make its people’s lives better, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the country climbed even higher next year.
The Scandinavian country fell one spot from last year to number seven, but its score is actually slightly higher — 7.384 versus 7.363 in 2021. The World Happiness Report notes that compared to the other Nordic countries, Sweden had the highest number of COVID-19 deaths, which may have impacted institutional trust in its residents.
But it continues to score high in social support, life expectancy, and freedom to make life choices, which, together with its many natural resources, explain why it consistently ranks at the top.
With a total score of 7.415, this northern European country again claimed the fifth spot in the World Happiness Report. Its residents have the best work-life balance in the world and benefit from high-quality education, low crime rates, and high disposable income.
And with a rich and fascinating history, vibrant arts scene, and beautiful nature (we have two words for you: tulip fields), it’s no surprise that life satisfaction among the Dutch is pretty high.