Skip to main content

Top 19 Happiest Countries (and the 20 Saddest)

Blue Marble
Earth (Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation). Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MO)

A recent Gallup analysis of 2010 well-being polls finds vast differences between countries in terms of how many citizens rate themselves as thriving. Below are the countries were the majority of people say they're doing well, along with the percent of people who say they're thriving.

1. Denmark – 72 percent

2. Sweden – 69 percent

3. Canada – 69 percent

4. Australia – 65 percent

5. Finland – 64 percent

6. Venezuela – 64 percent

7. Israel – 63 percent

8. New Zealand – 63 percent

9. Netherlands – 62 percent

10. Ireland – 62 percent

11. Panama – 61 percent

12. United States – 59 percent

13. Austria – 58 percent

14. Costa Rica – 58 percent

15. Brazil – 57 percent

16. United Arab Emirates – 55 percent

17. United Kingdom – 54 percent

18. Qatar – 53 percent

19. Mexico – 52 percent

A total of 67 countries had less than a quarter of residents report that they were thriving, including Iraq at 13 percent, India at 17 percent and Libya at 14 percent (the surveys were taken before the unrest in Libya began). Here are the twenty lowest-scoring nations, from most to least happy:

20. Cameroon – 9 percent

19. Bulgaria – 9 percent

18. Sudan – 9 percent

17. Morocco – 9 percent

16. Uganda – 8 percent

15. Liberia – 8 percent

14. Senegal – 6 percent

13. Kenya – 6 percent

12. Botswana – 5 percent

11. Sri Lanka – 5 percent

10. Comoros – 4 percent

9. Mali – 4 percent

8. Tanzania – 4 percent

7. Tajikistan – 3 percent

6. Niger – 3 percent

5. Cambodia – 3 percent

4. Burkina Faso – 3 percent

3. Haiti – 2 percent

2. Central African Republic – 2 percent

1. Chad – 1 percent

You can follow LiveScience senior writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.

Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.