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An annual study of the world's happiest countries has been released, but where's Canada?

Happiest countries ranked: Here's where Canada stands


Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Friday, April 24, 2015, 12:26 PM -

Canada is the fifth happiest country in the world, according to a new UN ranking. It's the only North American country in the Top 10 on the list in which places with harsh winters dominate.

Paradise, it seems, doesn't depend on palm trees and white-sand beaches.

The UN report comes after this new life satisfaction survey from Statistics Canada that ranks the happiest and least happy places in Canada.

Globally, the five happiest countries are:
1. Switzerland
2. Iceland
3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Canada

The 2015 World Happiness Report, released on Thursday by the United Nation's Sustainable Development Solutions Network, gauged the level of happiness in more than 150 countries using Gallup World Poll data between 2012 and 2014.

Respondents were asked to rate their lives on a scale from zero to 10.

The findings, "reflect a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness as a criteria for government policy," the report states.

Analysis included economics, psychology and health. Factors such as GDP, income, life expectancy, social support, generosity and perceptions of corruption were all measured.

"Countries with strong social and institutional capital not only support greater well-being, but are more resilient to social and economic crisis," report editor John Helliwell told The Globe and Mail. He's a professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia.

Japan, for example, showed increased happiness after the 2011 Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Levels of trust and social capital in the hardest-hit Fukushima region were improved by overcoming the hardships of the disaster, according to the study.

"This shows how crises can actually lead to improved happiness, by providing people with a chance to use, to cherish, and to build their mutual dependence and cooperative capacities," the study says.

The Top 10 countries had a happiest score of 7.284 or above. At the least happy end of the list, the bottom 10 countries all had scores below 3.667.

The least happy five are:
5. Rwanda
4. Benin
3. Syria
2. Burundi
1. Togo

The study noted that eight out of the bottom 10 are in sub-Saharan Africa, while the remaining two are war-torn countries in other regions, including Syria in the Middle East and Afghanistan in South Asia.

Sources: World Happiness Report | The Globe and Mail

WORLD'S HAPPIEST COUNTRIES | FORECAST

WORLD'S LEAST HAPPY COUNTRIES | FORECAST

1. Switzerland | Lausanne Forecast

1. Togo | Lome Forecast

2. Iceland | Reykjavik Forecast

2. Burundi | Bujumbura Forecast

3. Denmark | Copenhagen Forecast

3. Syria | Damascus Forecast

4. Norway | Oslo Forecast

4. Benin | Bohicon Forecast

5. Canada | Ottawa Forecast

5. Rwanda | Kigali Forecast

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