U.N. Report Tracks Satisfaction Around the Globe

Beginning in 2011, the United Nations began inviting member countries to participate in measuring the happiness of their populations based on such criteria as material wealth, freedom to make choices, social support, and corruption, as well as physical and emotional well-being. The result is the World Happiness Report, a 155-page document that seeks to chart life satisfaction around the world and raise awareness of happiness as a factor in making public policy.

Happiest Continent: North America

Least Happy: Sub-Saharan Africa

Scandinavian Countries in Top 5: Denmark, Norway, Sweden

Rank of United States: 17

Countries Ranked Happier Than United States: Canada, Iceland, Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, New Zealand

Least Happy Country: Togo

Countries with Greatest Increase in Happiness Between 2005 and 2012: Angola, Zimbabwe, Albania, Ecuador, Moldova

Countries with Greatest Decrease in Happiness Between 2005 and 2012: Egypt, Greece, Myanmar, Jamaica, Botswana 

Quinton Skinner is a writer and editor based in the Twin Cities. A former senior editor of Minnesota Monthly, he held the same post at Twin Cities METRO and 
has written for major national and local publications. He is the co-founder of Logosphere Storysmiths and author of several novels, including his latest, Odd One Out.