The Happiest Countries On The Planet

Colin Garland of the Demons smiles during a Melbourne Demons AFL training session. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Australia is happier than it was a year ago but still hasn’t discovered the secret of the happiest countries in the world.

Gallup’s latest Positive Experience Index puts Australia below most South American countries, about the same as Canada and New Zealand, but well ahead of the US.

Australia, however, is significantly happier than in 2012. Then, Australia’s score was 75 and appeared 44th in the world list.

Now, Australia appears 18th with a score of 79.

The rankings are judged on whether people are feeling enjoyment, laughing or smiling a lot, being well-rested, and being treated with respect.

Here are the rankings:

Gallup’s Positive Experience Index

Overall in the world, at least seven in 10 adults report experiencing happiness while a slight majority (51%) report that they learned or did something interesting the day before.

Gallup measured positive emotions in 138 countries in 2013 by asking people whether they experienced them the previous day. Gallup compiles the “yes” results into a Positive Experience Index score for each country.

Of the 10 countries in the world with the highest percentages experiencing all of these positive emotions, all but one of them (Denmark) is in Latin America.

For the third year in a row, Paraguay led the world in positive emotions, with Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Ecuador rounding out the top five in 2013.

That so many people are reporting positive emotions in Latin America at least partly reflects the cultural tendency in the region to focus on the positives in life.

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