Top 50 Happiest Countries in the World

Canada finished higher than the United States, but who's number one?
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Top 50 Happiest Countries in the World Getty Images

For anyone looking to move abroad, a few questions immediately spring to mind when picking a new country.

Which offers the best quality of life? Where can you earn the most money? Which country has the best weather? Will you need to learn a new language?

While all valid questions, the ultimate metric should be a simple one—happiness. A report by John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey D. Sachs has compiled a list of the happiest countries.

The World Happiness Report makes a straightforward finding for those looking to emigrate: "Some of those who migrate between countries will benefit and others will lose," the report states. "In general, those who move to happier countries than their own will gain in happiness, while those who move to unhappier countries will tend to lose."

Participants were asked to give an overall score for the country out of 10. The report also broke the scores down into several key components (the reasons people are happy in their country).

  • GDP per capita.
  • Social support.
  • Health and life expectancy.
  • Freedom to make life choices.
  • Generosity.
  • Perceptions of corruption.

Five Nordic countries made it to the top 10 of the list. The United States and United Kingdom were further down, both appearing in the top 20—but neither in the top 10.

The total list of countries counts down to 156. The most unhappy countries include Burundi, South Sudan, Tanzania and Yemen. African and Middle Eastern nations dominated the list of least happy countries.

Some of the countries to just miss out on the top 50 happiest were Japan, Jamaica, South Korea, Russia and Peru. Slovenia was 51st on the list.

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50. Lithuania. Overall score: 5.952. Getty Images