These Are The 10 Happiest And Unhappiest Countries In The World In 2019

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The 2019 World Happiness Report has been released, and it reveals the countries whose residents say they are the happiest and least happy. The 10 happiest countries are:

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Norway
  4. Iceland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Switzerland
  7. Sweden
  8. New Zealand
  9. Canada
  10. Austria

And the 10 least happy countries are (with 1 being the least happy):

  1. South Sudan
  2. Central African Republic
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Tanzania
  5. Rwanda
  6. Yemen
  7. Malawi
  8. Syria
  9. Botswana
  10. Haiti

The United States placed 19th on the list of happiest countries—down one spot from last year. The world happiness report ranks 156 ranks countries based on a three-year average of surveys taken by Gallup. Factors survey participants are asked to consider include their country’s GDP, social support from friends and family, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceived corruption, and recent emotions, reports Bloomberg. Another factor in the rankings is the effect technology is having on people’s happiness. It found that teens who spent more time with digital devices were less happy.

The major bummer about this year’s list? When you factor in population growth, world happiness has fallen in recent years, the report’s authors found. “The world is a rapidly changing place. How communities interact with each other whether in schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, or on social media has profound effects on world happiness,” said professor John Helliwell, co-editor of the 2019 report.

The Happiest Places on Earth

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he latest World Happiness Report puts the United States in 18th place, behind all the Scandinavian countries, Costa Rica, Canada, and others. The report, issued annually by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, looks at income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, and generosity. Another happiness list from National Geographic puts Boulder, Colorado in first place because of its high levels of civic engagement, walkability, and healthful food options. Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones sits down with Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, and journalist Steve Clemons to talk about the relationship between place and happiness.

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The World’s Healthiest Countries, Ranked

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Spain just surpassed Italy as the world’s healthiest nation. That’s according to this year’s edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 countries based on factors that contribute to overall health.

Six of the top 10 countries were in Europe, with Italy ranking second. In contrast, the United States didn’t even break into the top 30, ranking at number 35, one notch worse than last year.

The top 10 healthiest nations, according to the report, were:

  1. Spain
  2. Italy
  3. Iceland
  4. Japan
  5. Switzerland
  6. Sweden
  7. Australia
  8. Singapore
  9. Norway
  10. Israel

To come up with the rankings, Bloomberg researchers graded nations based on several factors including life expectancy, while giving penalties for health risks such as obesity and tobacco use. Environmental factors like access to clean water and sanitation were also taken into account.

The results mirror other research that came out last fall looking at future life expectancies in 195 countries and territories around the world. In that study, published in the international medical journal The Lancet, Spain also ranked first, with a projected life expectancy of 85.8 years by 2040. The United States ranked 64th.

Experts say the eating habits of the Mediterranean diet may provide clues for why Spain and Italy enjoy such good health. This heart-healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, along with healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocados.

A number of studies have shown the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and may have numerous other health benefits, including reduction of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, as well as a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s diseaseParkinson’s disease and cancer. One study published in British Journal of Nutrition found that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a 25 percent lower chance of death from any cause.

People in Spain also benefit from a national health system focused on preventative care, according to a review by The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, which praised its “principles of universality, free access, equity and financial fairness.”

One of the main reasons the U.S. ranks so poorly compared to other developed nations is the obesity epidemic, which shows little sign of letting up. The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate nearly 40 percent of American adults — equivalent to 93.3 million people — are obese.

Life expectancy in the U.S. has also been driven down in recent years due to so-called deaths of despair, including suicide and drug overdoses. For the first time, Americans were even more likely to die from opioid overdoses than car accidents.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 27 of the 30 unhealthiest nations in the Bloomberg rankings. Haiti, Afghanistan and Yemen were also in the bottom 30.