3 months ago
The list - published every year on March 20th, the International Day of Happiness, takes into account the following criteria: wealth as defined by GDP per capita, size of social support for those in need, healthy life expectancy at birth, freedom of choice in major life decisions, individual generosity and corruption in society.
There are, of course, no major surprises at the very top of the list of 156 countries: the leaders are Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland - in that order. Brits (15th), however, beat their cousins from across the pond by four places: the United States ranked 19th.
Back to Central and Eastern Europe, Poland was ranked a respectable 40th, Slovenia 44th and - somewhat surprisingly given its recent history - Kosovo 46th. Romania (48) just managed to remain in the top third of the rankings, but Hungary (62) did not. But perhaps the biggest surprise in the region is the relative ranking of the Baltic nations: Lithuania (42), Latvia (53) and Estonia (55).
The Balkans countries - with the notable mention of the aforementioned Kosovo - have nothing to write home about: Serbia (70), Montenegro (73) followed by Croatia (75) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (78).
The world's most populous country, China, was ranked 93rd while the second largest, India is placed towards the bottom of the list at 140th.
Surreptitiously struck by civil war, ethnic conflicts, water shortages, famine and refugee waves in the past decade, South Sudan tails the list in 156th position, behind the Central African Republic (155) and Afghanistan (154).