These Are the World's Happiest Countries

Immigrants are most satisfied in Scandinavia. Find out what else contributed to 2018's UN World Happiness report.

What makes a country happy? The United Nations considers the answer with its annual World Happiness Report, ranking a total of 156 countries. Key ingredients for well-being include longer healthy years of life, more social support, trust in government, higher GDP per capita, and generosity.

This year’s list hosts the same top 10 countries as 2017, however some managed to jump the ranks while others fell. Most notably, Finland jumped from fourth place to first this year, snatching the title from Norway. Finland also has happiest immigrants, a new special focus of this year's report. 

While the experiences of tourists were not considered specifically, the report sets a standard for blissful places to visit. After all, aren't smiles contagious?

Here are the happiest countries in the world and some of what makes them unique.

10. AUSTRALIA


PHOTOGRAPH BY DALLAS AND JOHN HEATON, AURORA

From the packed shores of Bondi Beach to the quiet hideaways along the Great Ocean Road, Australia has a whopping 10,685 beaches.
 

9. SWEDEN

PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX HOLLAND

In Sweden, the coffee break is sacred. Swedes carve out time each day to slow down and enjoy fika, a short beverage break that can be done solo or with company.
 

8. NEW ZEALAND

PHOTOGRAPH BY IAN TROWER, AURORA

No part of this island nation is more than 128km from the sea. New Zealand is also home to unique penguin species, including the yellow-eyed penguin, the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin, and the little blue penguin—the world's smallest.
 

7. CANADA

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID HANSON, AURORA

Canada’s forest cover represents 30 percent of the world’s boreal forest and 10 percent of the world’s overall forest cover. Unsurprisingly, Canada's air quality is among the best in the world.

6. NETHERLANDS

PHOTOGRAPH BY NATURE'S BEAUTY/AURORA

Amsterdam actually has 1281 bridges, three times as many as Venice.

5. SWITZERLAND

PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX ROBINSO

According to the International Cocoa Organization, the Swiss eat an estimated 11 kg of chocolate a year.

4. ICELAND

PHOTOGRAPH BY GAVIN HELLIER

This country is known as "The Land of Fire and Ice" because of the glaciers and volcanoes that make up the landscape. Iceland's Vatnajökull—Europe’s largest glacier—is a piece of ice the size of Puerto Rico.

3. DENMARK

PHOTOGRAPH BY JON ARNOLD, AURORA

The city of Copenhagen was built for bicyclists. A third of Copenhageners commute to work daily on 217 miles (350 km) of paths and lanes that stretch across the city.


2. NORWAY

PHOTOGRAPH BY NICOLAS ARMER, AURORA

Norway is a premiere destination to view the dancing lights of the aurora borealis. In ancient times, people believed the glowing lights were sent from the gods.


1. FINLAND

PHOTOGRAPH BY PAWEL GAUL, GETTY IMAGES

Finns take their soak time so seriously, there are an estimated two million saunas in the country with a population of 5.3 million. Finland also had the happiest immigrants, a special focus of this year's report.

LEAD IMAGE: From the packed shores of Bondi Beach to the quiet hideaways along the Great Ocean Road, Australia has a whopping 10,685 beaches.

PHOTOGRAPH BY DALLAS AND JOHN HEATON, AURORA

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