Looking to improve your level of happiness? You may want to book a trip to Denmark, Norway, or Switzerland.

According to the 2013 World Happiness Report, released by Columbia University’s Earth Institute, these countries are the top three happiest in the world. The United States came in at No. 17 this year for happiness, behind Canada at No.6, and just below Mexico, which ranked 16.

The Happiness Report ranked 156 countries, and is published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which claims that “the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable development.” On a scale of 0 to 10, people across these nations were surveyed by Gallup from 2010-2012, on factors including real gross domestic product per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity, according to the study.

The survey reports that not only do happy people live longer, they are more productive, earn more and are also better citizens. “Well-being should be developed both for its own sake, and for its side-effects,” the report states.

Egypt saw the largest decrease in its citizens’ happiness levels which fell to an average of 4.3 in 2012 from 5.4 in 2007. Notable changes in happiness were also seen in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, all of which are still feeling economic hardships from the financial crisis.  Overall, those living in Sub-Saharan Africa were the least happy, the survey reports.

The top five happiest nations in the world are:

  1. Denmark
  2. Norway
  3. Switzerland
  4. Netherlands
  5. Sweden

For the complete survey from the UNSDSN click here.

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