Australia Ranked 18th Happiest Country in the World
Australia is only the 18th happiest country in the world, while South American nations dominate the cheerfulness scoreboard.
Despite the stereotype of the upbeat Aussie, citizens in far poorer nations are more positive, with Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines all rating above Australia.
The nation scored 79 out of 100 in Gallup’s global index, which ranked 138 countries by assessing levels of emotions such as enjoyment and relaxation.
South America boasted nine of the top 10 countries. Paraguay scored 87, making it the happiest in the world for the third successive year.
Colombia, Venezuela and Honduras all beat wealthier Western nations in the charts.
The report said South America’s high score “reflects the cultural tendency in the region to focus on the positives in life”.
Gallup measured positive emotions during 2013 by asking 1000 adults in each country whether they experienced these feelings the previous day and compiling a Positive Experience Index score for each country.
The data shows that richer people tend to feel more positive, with a 10 percentage-point gap between the highest and lowest income brackets.
The survey also revealed that those who are self-employed have even lower levels of wellbeing than those who are unemployed. Full-time workers tend to be the happiest, rating above even part-time workers who are not looking for full-time roles.
New Zealand is just above Australia at 17th in the positivity index. The US is 24th and the UK — often perceived as negative or cynical despite its relative wealth — languishes at 54th in the list.
Denmark is notable because, except for one year, it has always been No 1 when it comes to the percentage of people who rate their lives positively enough to be considered “thriving.”
For the complete ranking, view the Gallup positivity index.