World’s happiest countries: 1 to 187

World’s happiest countries: 1 to 187

It's good to be Norwegian, according to the U.N.'s latest "happiness index"
Norway ranks number one on the UN Human Development Index.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Norway has been declared the world's happiest country. Just as unsurprising, the Democratic Republic of Congo came last.

The United Nations Human Development Index 2011 measures happiness in different countries based on factors such as income, education, health, life expectancy, economy, gender equality and sustainability.

"To be more accurate, one would say this measures the quality of life. It goes beyond income to include basic measures like education and health," says Surekha Subarwal, U.N. communications representative from New Delhi. 

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Essentially the index implies that if you live longer, earn more money and have access to good schools and healthcare, you're probably going to be happier than people who don't.

“This is more than just the traditional index which just measure average income, health and education,” says Adam Rogers, the U.N.'s communications officer in Geneva. "This measurement of human wellbeing and happiness introduces the inequality dimension, a measure of access to health and education.”

Bhutan, the only country that gauges its progress by measuring its people's happiness rather than economic contributions, came a rather lowly 141. 

Rogers clarifies, “This study is much more empirical than the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index you will find in Bhutan, which is quite subjective.”

Just missing out on a top 10 spot was Switzerland in 11th place. The United States came fourth while the United Kingdom came 28th, below Hong Kong (13th), Korea (15th), France (20th), Singapore (26th) and the Czech Republic (27th).

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Top 10 happiest countries

1. Norway
Life expectancy at birth (years): 81.1
Income (GNI per capita): US$47,557
Population: 4.9 million

2. Australia
Life expectancy at birth (years): 81.9
Income (GNI per capita): US$34,431
Population: 22.7 million

3. The Netherlands
Life expectancy at birth (years): 80.7
Income (GNI per capita): US$36,402
Population: 16.6 million

4. United States
Life expectancy at birth (years): 78.5
Income (GNI per capita):US$ 43,017
Population: 313 million

5. New Zealand
Life expectancy at birth (years): 80.7
Income (GNI per capita): US$23,737
Population: 4.4 million

6. Canada
Life expectancy at birth (years): 81
Income (GNI per capita): US$35,166
Population: 34 million

7. Ireland
Life expectancy at birth (years): 80.6
Income (GNI per capita): US$29,322
Population: 4.5 million

8. Liechtenstein
Life expectancy at birth (years): 79.5
Income (GNI per capita): US$83,717
Population: 36,300

9. Germany
Life expectancy at birth (years): 80.4
Income (GNI per capita): US$34,854
Population: 82 million

10. Sweden
Life expectancy at birth (years): 81.4
Income (GNI per capita): US$35,837
Population: 9.4 million

Bottom 10 

178. Guinea
Life expectancy at birth (years): 54.1
Income (GNI per capita): US$863
Population: 10.2 million

179. Central African Republic
Life expectancy at birth (years): 48.4
Income (GNI per capita): US$707
Population: 4.4 million

180. Sierra Leone 
Life expectancy at birth (years): 47.8
Income (GNI per capita): US$737
Population: 6 million

181. Burkina Faso
Life expectancy at birth (years): 55.4
Income (GNI per capita): US$1,141
Population: 17 million

182. Liberia
Life expectancy at birth (years): 56.8
Income (GNI per capita): US$265
Population: 4.1 million

183. Chad
Life expectancy at birth (years): 49.6
Income (GNI per capita): US$1,105
Population: 11.5 million

184. Mozambique
Life expectancy at birth (years): 50.2
Income (GNI per capita): US$898
Population: 23 million 

185. Burundi
Life expectancy at birth (years): 50.4
Income (GNI per capita): US$368
Population: 8.5 million

186. Niger
Life expectancy at birth (years): 54.7
Income (GNI per capita): US$641
Population:16 million

187. Democratic Republic of Congo
Life expectancy at birth (years): 48.4
Income (GNI per capita): US$280
Population: 67.7 million

Jane Leung is a Hong Kong-born Canadian who has dabbled in the mixed media bag of film and television production, the professional sports industry and magazine publishing. 

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