Argentina Bhutan temples in the mountains

Published on June 27th, 2016 | by Crissandra Ayroso

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The Top 9 Happiest and Safest Countries in the World

The World Happiness Report concludes that the objective of governments should be to create conditions for the greatest possible happiness and the least possible amount of suffering by creating an ethical system that is both convincing and inspiring.

The report, which came out earlier this year, measured overall happiness based on each nation’s average income per person in a country (GDP per capita), social support (having access to friends and family to count on for support in times of trouble), healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity (the ability to donate money to charitable causes), and the population’s perceptions of corruption.

We took the data-heavy World Happiness Report along with two more to distinguish the world’s most (and least) peaceful, happiest, and most environmentally sustainable nations on the planet, then cross-sectioned all of the data to create a list of the top countries with the highest average rating of low environmental impact, overall well-being and human welfare, and peacefulness.

Across all of this research, while some nations progress and some nations regress, we were also gently reminded that some trends remain – most developed nations on the planet leave the highest ecological footprints, some of the happiest nations on the planet suffer ongoing internal conflict, and many nations in developed and under-developed regions of the world can score high overall while facing daily struggle and injustice – amongst much more.

Here is how the happiest and safest countries performed:

 

 

Highlights

      • Canada is one of the safest nations on the planet. Out of 163 nations, the Great White North came in eighth place on the Global Peace Index and sixth out of 157 nations on the World Happiness Report. Just behind Denmark, Canada has the second highest overall well-being score. (Happy Planet Index)

 

Panama

Panama_iStock_83741769

Panama is one of the top five risers for 2016 on the Global Peace Index, beating its last year’s 2015 ranking and jumping up 15 spots. How did they do it? Panama’s stable political environment was a contribution to the improvement in internal peace, as well as the building of large infrastructures, including the expansion of the Panama Canal, which is projected to increase revenue and stimulate growth in the regional economy.

Happy Planet overall rank: 7/151
World Happiness Report overall rank: 25/157
Global Peace Index: 49/163

 

Costa Rica

Costa Rica_iStock_000014509721

Costa Rica came in at number one on Happy Planet’s overall rank, making this one of the happiest places on earth. Costa Rica has been without a military since 1948 and then it was officially banned in 1949, which has allowed the nation to redirect what would have been military spending to more positive ventures like education and culture. With a high score on the well-being scale and one of the lowest ecological footprints, life for locals on the rich coast is pura vida.

Happy Planet overall rank: 1/151
World Happiness Report overall rank: 14/157
Global Peace Index: 33/163

 

Argentina

Argentina_iStock_9903044

Argentina gave us the tango – one of the most sensual, dramatic Latin dances of all time. While this reason alone may be the cause for any given boom in the population, there is no doubt that Argentinians are some of the happiest people on the planet. Argentina scores high overall for happiness and well-being – this nation has one of the highest number of national holidays in the world – and is one of the safest countries on the planet.

Happy Planet overall rank: 17/151
World Happiness Report overall rank: 26/157
Global Peace Index: 67/163

 

Chile

Chile_iStock_25743267

Diverse landscapes from glaciers to rainforests, rich culture, and abundant wildlife (I’m talking penguins, penguins, penguins), Chile is also one of the happiest, safest nations on the planet with a high standard of living.

Happy Planet overall rank: 19/151
World Happiness Report overall rank: 24/157
Global Peace Index: 27/163

 

New Zealand

New Zealand_iStock_000051013176

Consistently one of the safest nations on the planet year to year, it’s no accident that New Zealand is also one of the happiest (and friendliest – I think we can all agree on that.)

Happy Planet overall rank: 28/151
World Happiness Report overall rank: 8/157
Global Peace Index: 4/163

 

Norway

Reine Norway iStock_58806820

In the winter, when some of winter’s shortest, darkest days of the year roll around, Scandinavians practise koselig, that is, the art of feeling warm, happy, and cozy – perhaps this says much of the culture. Norway is one of the happiest nations on the planet, coming in fourth overall on the World Happiness Report. It might be true what they say about happy people living longer; Norway’s life expectancy averages at about 81.1 years old, one of the highest in the world.

Happy Planet overall rank: 29/151
World Happiness Report overall rank: 4/157
Global Peace Index: 17/163

 

Switzerland

Basel Switzerland iStock_46982806

Cheese, chocolate, luxury time pieces. Switzerland is the capital of indulgences which may be how it earned its place as one of the happiest nations in the world, coming in second place overall on the World Happiness Report. Switzerland is also one of the top five nations with the highest level of well-being, according to the Happy Planet Index with one of the highest GDP per capita in the world.

Happy Planet overall rank: 34/151
World Happiness Report overall rank: 2/157
Global Peace Index: 7/163

 

United Kingdom

uk_london_iStock_000041042410

One of the two largest European countries with a population of over 62 million people, the United Kingdom is the capital of culture, art, and history. As one of the happiest nations, Britons also have one of the world’s highest life expectancies, one of the highest ratings of experienced well-being.

Happy Planet overall rank: 41/151
World Happiness Report overall rank: 23/157
Global Peace Index: 47/163

 

France

France Macarons iStock_93623651

Vive Le France. With the second highest number of Michelin-star restaurants in the world, a culture of world-class taste, spirit, and indulgence, it’s no surprise the City of Light is home to some of the happiest people on the planet. France’s GDP per capita, which ranks higher than the global average, healthy social support, long life expectancy, and high scores on experienced well-being were all driving factors in France’s top scores.

Happy Planet overall rank: 50/151
World Happiness Report overall rank: 32/157
Global Peace Index: 46/163

 

 

Top 10s by Report

Global Peace Index 2016

      1. Iceland
      2. Denmark
      3. Austria
      4. New Zealand
      5. Portugal
      6. Czech Republic
      7. Switzerland
      8. Canada
      9. Japan
      10. Slovenia

 

Happy Planet Index – Overall Well-Being

      1. Costa Rica
      2. Vietnam
      3. Colombia
      4. Belize
      5. El Salvador
      6. Jamaica
      7. Panama
      8. Nicaragua
      9. Venezuela
      10. Guatemala

 

World Happiness Report – Overall Well-Being

 

Happy Planet Index – Ecological Footprint (Lowest)

      1. Afghanistan
      2. Haiti
      3. Bangladesh
      4. Rwanda
      5. Pakistan
      6. Nepal
      7. Malawi
      8. Zambia
      9. Mozambique
      10. Rep. of the Congo

 

Information on the reports:
Data used from the Happy Planet Index and World Happiness Report is a cross-section of nations that appear in each other’s list of top 50 nations. Data used from the Global Peace Index is a cross section of nations within the top 70 countries that appear in both the Happy Planet and World Happiness reports’ top 50 nations.

The Global Peace Index uses data from the most recent report (2016, tenth edition) with data gathered by independent experts at The Institute of Economics and Peace, founded in Australia. The GPI is a comprehensive analysis to date on the trends in peace and violence over the past ten years which measured 163 nations’ peacefulness based on three broad themes: the level of safety and security in a society, the number of international and domestic conflicts, and the degree of militarization.

The Happy Planet Index uses data from the most recent report (2012, third edition) with data gathered from between 2008-2012 by UK-based independent experts at the new economics foundation. Happy Planet report measures each nation’s overall happiness based on a breakdown of high life expectancy, high levels of experienced well-being, and a moderate ecological footprint.

The World Happiness Report uses data from the most recent report (2016, fourth edition) with data gathered from 2013-2015 by independent experts at Gallup, Inc. based in the US. The World Happiness Report measures overall happiness based on each nation’s GDP per capita (the average income per person in a country), social support (having access to friends and family to count on for support in times of trouble), healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity (the ability to donate money to charitable causes), and the population’s perceptions of corruption.

 

 

 

 

For more information about travelling the world’s happiest and safest countries, contact a Flight Centre Travel Expert by connecting with us online, calling 1-877-967-5302, or visiting your closest Flight Centre store.

 

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About the Author

Crissandra Ayroso

is a copywriter for Flight Centre. She loves road trips, beach weather, sampling local wine. She, like Helen Hunt in the 1996 disaster-rama (that’s short for drama) Twister, is a tornado chaser, in the travel sense. She chases moments, all revealing. Ephemeral. Whether it’s ordering room service and eating in bed, finding the highest rooftop for the best views of the surroundings, feeling like a small dot in the middle of the ocean on a boat, or getting lost and stumbling upon hidden gems, no moment is too big or small to chase. Just like the category F5 that brought Helen Hunt back together with her estranged husband, respected TV weatherman, Bill Paxton.



One Response to The Top 9 Happiest and Safest Countries in the World

  1. Smokey says:

    I really don’t think that Venezuela should be on the Happy Planet Index for overall well being.
    Have you not read the news recently. Give your head a shake. Probably the least happy place in the world.

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