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Canada among the happiest countries in the world

September 9, 2013

If you're interested in moving abroad, then you may want to read a recent report put out by the United Nations General Assembly. The second annual World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries using a scale developed to measure the life satisfaction of the world's citizens.

This year's happiest
Denmark received a score of 7.693 out of 10, the highest of any country on the list, making it the happiest place on Earth, according to the research. Norway came in just behind with 7.655, followed by Switzerland at 7.650. The Netherlands (7.512) and Sweden (7.480) rounded out the top five.

Canada ranked number six, which means based on the UN scale, it is the happiest nation in North America. Mexico comes in at 7.088, sixteenth place, just ahead of the U.S. at 7.082.

To come up with the rankings, researchers used data from the Gallup World Poll, using information gathered between 2005 and now. They took note of various metrics both positive and negative, including life expectancy, amount of corruption in government, GDP per capita and perceived levels of freedom.

The average rating worldwide was 5.1, but things are looking up across the globe. A total of 61 countries saw an increase in happiness ratings this year compared to last, while only 41 saw a decrease. Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa are steadily increasing in happiness.

"More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world," said Jeffery Sachs, co-author of the study. "The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence 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."

Traveling to happy nations
The study from the UN may inspire some people to pack up their bags and head for one of the countries that ranked well. Of course, the level of happiness travelers experience when visiting these countries may not be reflected in the listing, because the UN's research is based on the life quality of citizens, not visitors.

However, there are some things travelers can do to make their time visiting these countries more enjoyable. Being well prepared with items like guidebooks, international calling cards and easy-to-read maps can have a big, positive impact on travel experiences.

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