Denmark has slipped to third place in the third World Happiness Report and now trails both the Swiss and Iceland. Norway, Finland and Sweden were also near the top, underlining a strong showing for the Nordic countries overall.
The Danes may still feel smug, remaining on the podium, but within the biennial report’s pages there is a more negative statistic. The report compared happiness levels from before and after the financial crisis, and on this list Denmark ranks 108th out of the total 125 countries. In other words, Denmark is one of the countries where the mood has dropped most due to the recession. Unsurprisingly, Greece came in at 125th.
The study ranks countries according to a series of factors, of which some are nationally determined, like GDP per capita and life expectancy.
Others are determined by data collected by the Gallup World Poll, a system of surveys that began in 2005 and now covers more than 160 countries.
Wealth equals happy
As expected, the top five countries – Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada – also rank among the world’s wealthiest. While the bottom five – Togo, Burundi, Syria, Benin and Rwanda – suffer from unrest and extreme poverty.
The United States was in 15th place, while the UK came in at 21st and Germany was 26th.
Women a little happier
The 2015 report is the first to consider the findings by gender and age. Women’s evaluations of their wellbeing tended to be slightly stronger than those of men, while differences by age were larger and more varied.
This year’s World Happiness Report is the third such report attempting to rate happiness as a means of influencing government policy. Denmark topped the 2013 report.