Israel jumps to 11th in list of happiest countries

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 10, 2013 21:32

Israel jumped from 14th in last year's poll to 11th, ahead of the United States (17), United Kingdom (22), and France (25).

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A man practices Laughter Yoga during the "World Laughter Day"

A man practices Laughter Yoga during the World Laughter Day. (photo credit:Reuters)

There are only ten countries in the world with people happier than Israel, according to the United Nations commissioned World Happiness Report released Monday by Columbia University's Earth Institute.

Israel jumped from 14th in last year's poll to 11th, ahead of the United States (17), United Kingdom (22), and France (25). The happiest counties among the 156 in the study are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada.

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Countries at the bottom of the list included Togo, Benin, Burundi, and Rwanda in Africa. Egypt fell the most out of any country in the past year, dropping to 130th. Others in the region included Syria (148), Iran (115), and the Palestinians territories (113).

The study measured positive and negative emotions and evaluations of life as a whole. It concluded that mental health is the single most important determinant of individual happiness.

"There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their lives," the study's authors wrote.

"This report offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us much about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable development."

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