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Reine, Norway | © Vidar Nordli-Mathisen/Unsplash
Reine, Norway | © Vidar Nordli-Mathisen/Unsplash
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These Are the 25 Happiest Countries in the World, Ranked

Picture of India Irving
Social Media Editor
Updated: 16 February 2018
What makes people happy? And what defines a ‘happy’ country? According to the research institute Legatum, prosperity is a vital component in the equation. The London-based firm have just released their annual global Prosperity Index for 2017, which reveals the most prosperous countries in the world.

There are a number of factors that affect what the institute defines as prosperity. Money is of course one, but there are actually 104 elements taken into account in order to come up with the final worldwide ranking. They traditional indicators, such as the number of people in full-time work and a country’s per capita GDP, as well as some more unusual ones, such as how well-rested members of the population feel on a day-to-day basis.

Watson - Portugal - Lisbon - Views from Miradouro da Graça
Lisbon, Portugal | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip

These 104 variables are then subdivided into nine categories: economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital, and natural environment.

Lake Wanaka and Mt Aspiring, New Zealand | © Olga Danylenko/Shutterstock
Lake Wanaka and Mt Aspiring, New Zealand | © Olga Danylenko/Shutterstock

149 countries were surveyed and these are the official top 25, ranked:

25. Portugal

24. Hong Kong

23. Japan

22. Malta

21. Slovenia

20. Spain

19. France

18. U.S.A.

17. Singapore

16. Belgium

15. Austria

14. Luxembourg

13. Iceland

12. Ireland

11. Germany

10. U.K.

9. Australia

8. Canada

7. Denmark

6. Netherlands

5. Sweden

4. Switzerland

3. Finland

2. New Zealand

1. Norway

That’s right, Norway is back at number one after being topped by New Zealand in 2016 for the first time in seven years!

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Bergen, Norway | © Tatyana Vyc/Shutterstock

The nation ranked first in natural environment, seventh in health, fourth in education, third in safety and security, fifth in social capital, eighth in personal freedom, second in governance, eighth in business environment and eighth in economic equality.