And the world's happiest people are… not in the United States.
You might want to stay away from the United States if you're looking for shiny happy people because, according to the United Nations' World Happiness Report, we come in at number 17 in the happiness department, down from 11th. Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden remain the countries with the happiest populations, while people in Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Togo and Benin are the least satisfied with their lives.
The report relied on the relatively new field of "happiness economics," a global measure of sustainable well-being that relies on economic and social factors, GDP and healthcare. Happiness levels are at their lowest in country's where people believe their "freedom to make key life choices" has been reduced, said the report. The countries at the top are known for their social safety nets (we'll take that 12-month paid maternity leave in Denmark, please) and progressive values.
Back in the United States, what would make you as happy as the Danes and Swedes?