The Psychology of Everyday Life: Motivation and the Search For Happiness

Happiness Across Cultures

What are the 10 happiest and 10 least happy countries and how does happiness relate to per capita income?

The table below lists the 10 countries with the highest happiness ratings and the 10 countries with the lowest ratings during the period from 2000 to 2008. On the whole, the happier countries are among the most wealthy, while the least happy countries have much less wealth. However, per capita income does not tell the whole story. Some countries that are listed as among the top 10 happiest have very similar, if not lower, per capita incomes than those of countries listed in the bottom 10. For example, Columbia has a per capita income of $8,900 while Bulgaria has a per capita income of $12,900. Likewise the per capita income of Mexico is not much higher than that of either Bulgaria or Macedonia.

According to the World Database of Happiness, Iceland ranks as the happiest country in the world (iStock).

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