The World Happiness Report 2016 Update, conducted by University of British Columbia researchers, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, noted that Israel is the 11th happiest place in the world and happier than the United States.
The widespread interest in the World Happiness Reports, of which this is the fourth, reflects growing global interest in using happiness and subjective well-being as primary indicators of the quality of human development.
Because of this growing interest, many governments, communities and organizations are using happiness data, and the results of subjective well-being research, to enable policies that support better lives.
Denmark was the happiest, followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden. Israel in 11th place is followed by Austria in 12th and the US in 13th. Germany is in 16th place, the UK in 23rd, and France is in 32nd, trailing the United Arab Emirate in 26th place. Surprisingly, Japan is in 53rd place.
Israel’s other immediate neighbors rank as follows: Egypt 120th, Jordan 112th, the Palestinian Territories 108th, Lebanon 93rd. Interestingly, half the countries in the top 10 are Scandinavian and exposed to little daylight during the winter, a factor generally associated with depression.
The report, based on an analysis of data from the Gallup World Poll, showed Syria, Afghanistan and eight sub-Saharan countries as the 10 least happy places on earth to live.
Most of these countries are confronting war and extreme poverty. The report is based on such as factors as per-capita gross domestic product, social support, healthy life expectancy and freedom from corruption in government and business. It also factors in levels of inequality, with countries experiencing greater levels of inequality deemed less happy than more egalitarian ones. It is also based on respondents’ assessments, on a scale of 0 to 10, of the quality of their lives.