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Happiest Country Rankings

In a study published in April in the journal Politics and Policy, researchers ranked 15 industrialized democracies based on the life satisfaction of their citizens.

Using four measures of government size, seen below, the researchers found that countries with larger governments also have the happiest citizens.

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Countries, from most to least satisfiedTax revenue as percent of GDPGovernment consumption as percent of real per capita GDPAverage percent of earnings replaced by unemployment benefitsSocial welfare expenditures as a percent of GDP
1. Norway43.518.43921.6
2. Switzerland29.28.83320.3
3. Finland43.918.73526.1
4. Canada33.413.21216.5
5. Sweden49.522.33929.4
6. The Netherlands38.820.83520.9
7. Great Britain36.317.41221.3
8. Spain35.818.13621.2
9. Australia30.815.72217.1
10. United States27.311.21315.9
11. Japan27.316.3818.6
12. Germany34.815.62426.7
13. Italy40.915.23325
14. France43.920.53929.2
15. South Korea25.510.496.9

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
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.