Experts from the United Nations (UN) have prepared a document in which different variables related to the well-being and development of the different countries of the world are measured. This has been called the World Happiness Report 2015, and has been carried out since 2012 and includes a total of 158 countries.

The well-being (or perception of well-being) of a country’s citizens is recognised as a measure of social progress and the success of public policies. Many (though not all) local and national governments use this data and research to seek policies that help their citizens live better lives.

United Nations: what is it?

The UN is an international organization of sovereign states, composed of practically all the countries of the world. It was created on October 24, 1945 in San Francisco (United States) when representatives of 51 countries met at the United Nations Conference to draft the United Nations Charter.

This organization aims to contribute to stabilize international relations and give greater consistency to peace in the world . Currently, there are 193 member countries of the UN, and it has the following objectives:

  • Maintaining peace throughout the world
  • Fostering friendly relations among nations
  • To work together to help the poor out of poverty, to fight hunger, disease, illiteracy, and to encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
  • To be a centre that helps nations to achieve their goals.

What are the happiest countries?

The World Happiness Report 2015 is an investigation that has been elaborated by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of the UN, and measures the well-being of the citizens of the different countries according to a series of statistical variables and individual perceptions.

Spain is ranked 36th in the World Happiness Report 2015

The first World Happiness Report was published in April 2012, the second in 2013 and this last in 2015. According to the last report (which includes data from 2014), Spain ranks 36th with a total of 6,329 points. The ranking is led by Switzerland, which has obtained a total of 7,587 points. The list of the happiest countries in the world also includes the most unhappy countries, which are Togo, Burundi and Syria.

Some variables measured by the World Happiness Report

In order to draw up the list of the happiest countries in the world, different data have been analysed relating to levels of economic development, but also other variables that are of a subjective nature , such as the positive and negative experiences expressed by the population following different patterns by sex, age and region.

The different variables that have been used for this study can be seen in different colors in this image. The final result comes from the data collected from the various sources and surveys.

These are the data that have been taken into account to list the happiest countries in the world:

  • Gross domestic product per capita : It is based on the purchasing power parity (PPP), i.e. the final sum of quantities of goods and services produced in a country, to the monetary value of a reference country. In this case adjusted to dollars (World Bank data).
  • Social support : opportunity to receive help from family or friends in case of problems (data from Gallup survey)
  • Life expectancy : according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • The freedom to make decisions in life (Gallup survey data).
  • Generosity : how much money is donated to NGOs.
  • The perception of corruption : citizens’ perception of government and business
  • Positive affect or : refers to how much people laugh according to the Gallup survey data).
  • Negative affect : refers to the perception of sadness and anger (data from the Gallup survey).

The grey bar is called “Dystopia”. It refers to a hypothetical country that would be the saddest, with the maximum value of the sum of the lowest negative scores. That is, it would be the most corrupt country, with the saddest people, with the shortest life expectancy, etc. The longer the bar, the farther away from that hypothetical negative country is the state being analysed.

The list of the 10 happiest countries in the world

Here is the list of the 10 happiest countries in the world :


The Alpine country has a cohesive society that is open to the world, allowing it to lead this ranking.

2. Iceland

In spite of the tremendous cold that bathes the Icelandic territory, this small country of the Atlantic places second in the list.

3. Denmark

A beautiful, welcoming country with a great standard of living. Denmark makes podium.

4. Norway

The first four happy countries are located in the old continent: Europe.

5. Canada

The first American country on the list. And no wonder, given the high rate of development, its anti-war policies and a cohesive and open society.

6. Finland

The Scandinavian countries are fully represented. Finland is also on the list.

7. Netherlands

A flat territory where people ride their bikes and respect the ecology.

8. Sweden

It is well known that the Nordic countries have a very high standard of living. Sweden is the country that ranks eighth.

9. New Zealand

The continent of Oceania has its first representation with the islands of New Zealand .

10. Australia

Oceania repeats: Australia is the country that closes this list of the happiest countries on the planet.

See the UN report

You can consult the full UN report by clicking on this link.