The United States Is the 12th-Happiest Country on the Planet

According to a wellbeing surveys taken by Gallup in 2010, the U.S. is the 12th-happiest country in the world. Take that, Costa Rica and Austria!

The country that scored highest by Gallup's measurements—based on the percentage of people who can be described as "thriving" using the "Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale"—is Denmark, where 72 percent of people "rate their current lives a 7 or higher and their lives in five years an 8 or higher." (Denmark is also home to the world's best restaurant, the bastards. But they'll never have Schleswig-Holstein!)

The U.S. ended up at 59 percent, mostly because we combine a bizarre can-do optimism and the best movies with an increasingly wide gap between the rich and poor, and handguns. Here's the top 15:

  • 1. Denmark – 72 percent
  • 2. Sweden – 69 percent
  • 2. Canada – 69 percent
  • 4. Australia – 65 percent
  • 5. Finland – 64 percent
  • 5. Venezuela – 64 percent
  • 7. Israel – 63 percent
  • 7. New Zealand – 63 percent
  • 9. Netherlands – 62 percent
  • 9. Ireland – 62 percent
  • 11. Panama - 61 percent
  • 12. United States - 59 percent
  • 13. Austria - 58 percent
  • 13. Costa Rica - 58 percent
  • 15. Brazil - 57 percent

The country with the lowest reported wellbeing was Chad. The bottom ten:

  • 1. Chad – 1 percent
  • 2. Central African Republic – 2 percent
  • 2. Haiti – 2 percent
  • 4. Burkina Faso – 3 percent
  • 4. Cambodia – 3 percent
  • 4. Niger – 3 percent
  • 4. Tajikistan – 3 percent
  • 8. Tanzania – 4 percent
  • 8. Mali – 4 percent
  • 8. Comoros – 4 percent

[Gallup, image via Shutterstock]