World Happiness Index: Denmark Leads; US Ranks 13th In Happiness

By Ellainie Calangian, Parent Herald March 21, 06:00 pm

World Happiness Index surveys the country with the happiest population every year. This 2016, Denmark ranks No.1 with a score of 7.526 on a 10-point scale followed by Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. The US is ranked 13th with a score of 7.104 in happiness.

According to Science Alert, the process of choosing the list is explained by the Index's website. The rankings are based on the Cantrill ladder that asks about the main life evaluation. The researchers asked 2,000 to 3,000 people to rank their own happiness based on six factors namely life expectancy, levels of GDP, corruption, freedom, social support and generosity.

The participants were asked by the researchers about the best possible life for them being the rate at 10. On the other hand, the worst possible life for them being rate at 0. Then, they would rate their own current lives on the scale of 0 to 10.

"A sample size of 2,000 to 3,000 is large enough to give fairly good estimates at the national level," the researchers said. "This is confirmed by the 95 percent confidence intervals shown at the right-hand end of each country bar."

On the 5th place is Finland followed closely by Canada, Netherlands, Australia and Sweden. Israel is currently ranked at 11th. On the other hand, the unhappiest countries are Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi in last at 157th.

Meanwhile, Huffington Post reports that the US must improve its social support system which is the thing that contributes to happiness. According to experts, America falls short in freedom to make decisions, generosity and healthy life expectancy.

"The US mostly leaves the poor to fend for themselves. Not so in the happiest country. They possess what is called the "social democratic" ethos: that society should look after each other, and especially the least well-off," Jeffrey Sacks, a co-author of the World Happiness Index and the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

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