Denmark is the happiest country in the world, according to the
latest World Values Survey published by the United States National
The annual study surveyed people in 97 countries to discover who is happiest.
The survey asked people two simple questions about their happiness and their level of satisfaction with life.
Puerto Rico and Colombia completed the top three happiest nations.
Zimbabwe was found to be the least happy, with Russia and Iraq also in
the bottom 10.
The study was directed by University of Michigan professor
Ronald Inglehart. He says that unlike other studies, which have focused
on economic factors, his research has found that financial prosperity
is not the only reason for happiness.
"Our research indicates prosperity is linked with happiness. It
does contribute," he says, "but it is not the most important factor.
"Personal freedom is even more important, and it’s freedom in
all kinds of ways. Political freedom, like with democracy and freedom
A happier world
The world is becoming a happier place overall, according to the survey, which has been conducted since 1981.
Dr Inglehart says that gender equality is also an indicator of
happiness, as is rising social tolerance. He says that both of these
things have risen dramatically in recent years.
The world’s wealthiest nation, the United States, was found to
be the world’s 16th happiest country, behind Switzerland, Canada and
The study also found that the countries at the bottom of the
list all struggle with widespread poverty or authoritarian governments.
Zimbabwe, which is gripped by hyperinflation, and has recently
seen a controversial presidential election marred by violence, was
found to be the least happy nation amongst the countries covered by the