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These are the happiest countries in the world

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The country you live in can have a big impact on your satisfaction with life. This is why, every year, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) assesses countries based on six factors, including life expectancy, freedom, corruption, and social support.

The 2018 World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries, settling once and for all which are the world’s most cheerful countries.

Western powerhouse United States scraped a disappointing 18th place, with the United Kingdom settled one place below at 19th. Dominating the top ten are Scandinavian countries.

National happiness seems to be unconnected to a country’s appeal as a tourist destination, with none of the top ten happiest countries placing on a list of the top ten most visited countries in 2017.

10. Australia

The 12 Apostles

Australia is known for its laid-back lifestyle, aided by stretches of luxurious beaches and a notoriously sunny climate. On average, some destinations in Australia can experience up to 286 days of sunshine a year.

Australia’s admirable climate, successful healthcare system, and increasing job opportunities are just some of the reasons Australia’s residents are some of the happiest in the world.

9. Sweden

Kristinstad, Sweden

Transparency International ranks Sweden the 6th most transparent out of 180 countries in 2017, with low levels of corruption and strong, independent media.

In Sweden, University education is free, children’s day-cares are heavily subsidised, and universal healthcare is available to all.

8. New Zealand

New Zealand landscape

New Zealand out-ranks neighbouring Australia by two places.

People living in New Zealand move at a relaxed pace, with plenty of outdoors to explore, including beaches, native parks, and stunning mountain ranges.

7. Canada

Moraine Lake, Canada

It is no secret that Canadians are considered some of the friendliest, upbeat people in the world, with alumni such as Ryan Reynolds and Seth Rogen spreading their joy through high-profile acting careers.

Canada’s small population enjoys high life expectancies and very low crime rates, making it one of the healthiest and safest countries in the world.

6. The Netherlands

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Netherlands is renowned for its unique drugs policy where recreational use of soft drugs is openly tolerated, motivated by the idea that a drug-free society is unrealistic and unattainable.

A liberal and scenic country, The Netherlands is home to many happy citizens who enjoy access to low university fees and compulsory education.

5. Switzerland

Bre, Switzerland

Knocked down from the top spot in 2015, Switzerland is the fifth happiest country with a successful economy and excellent education system.

If there’s one fact that illustrates the Swiss temperament is that it is illegal to keep only one guinea pig; Switzerland requires its citizens to keep guinea pigs in pairs to ensure the social species’ wellbeing.

4. Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik has recently become a tourist hotspot, with many people attracted to Iceland by its natural phenomenon including natural hot springs and Northern lights spectacles.

In addition to this, Iceland boasts free healthcare, good education, and low interaction in military conflicts.

3. Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark has one of the smallest wealth gaps in the world.

Home to the stylish capital Copenhagen and a wide variety of beautiful landscapes, people living in Denmark are also content with free university education and generous holiday entitlement at work.

2. Norway

Alesund, Norway

Last year’s winner, also voted Europe’s most beautiful country, is still satisfying its residents with beautiful landscapes and “allemannsrett”, meaning “freedom to roam”, which allows anyone to pitch a tent or hike through any non-cultivated land.

Ranked highly due to its social equality and welfare system, Norway sits comfortably in second place.

1. Finland

Levi, Finland

Finland, home to 5.5 million people yet the most sparsely populated country in the European Union, tops the list of the world’s happiest countries in 2018. The World Happiness Report shows that, in Finland, there is particular consistency in the happiness of immigrants and born residents.

Home to Lapland, igloos, and fashionable cities, Finland is also one of the safest countries to live in with one of the least corrupt governments in the world, an admirable education system, and – for those looking to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle – the most saunas per capita.

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