Australia is Among the Happiest Countries in the World

In a field of 156 countries, us Aussies came out in a positively joyful 9th place!

So how – and why – is such a thing as happiness measured, you may ask?

Now in its fourth year, the World Happiness Report 2016 Update is tallied around a survey of how people evaluate their lives on a scale of 0 to 10. Each ranking, based on surveys conducted within the 156 participating countries, looks at a time span of three years.

Governments, communities and organisations can then use this data to push for policies that improve lives.

“Measuring self-reported happiness and achieving wellbeing should be on every nation’s agenda as they begin to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals,” Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, said.

“Indeed, the goals themselves embody the very idea that human wellbeing should be nurtured through a holistic approach that combines economic, social and environmental objectives. Rather than taking a narrow approach focused solely on economic growth, we should promote societies that are prosperous, just, and environmentally sustainable.”

So who came out on top?

Denmark - a Top Ten regular - regained first place this year, followed closely by Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.

Finland, Canada, Netherlands and New Zealand pipped us at the post for higher rankings, with Sweden coming in at tenth place.

“The rankings show both consistency and change,” said Helliwell. “The consistency at the top reflects mainly that life evaluations are based on life circumstances that usually evolve slowly, and that are all at high levels in the top countries,” he says.

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