Tel Aviv beach .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The annual World Happiness Report published on Thursday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has ranked Israel as the 11th happiest country in the world in 2014 for the second year in a row.
Switzerland was the happiest country on earth in 2014, followed closely by Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Canada. Rounding out the top 10 are Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia. The United States trailed behind, coming in at number 15.
The World Happiness Report is a survey of global societal well-being that ranks 158 countries by happiness levels using variables such as GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy. The report also includes extra factors such as social support, generosity, freedom to make life choices, and perceived absence of corruption.
When the publication first launched in 2012, Israel was ranked at number 14 our of 156 countries.
The goal of the report is to guide progress toward social, economic and environmental development.
“As the science of happiness advances, we are getting to the heart of what factors define quality of life for citizens,” said Professor John F. Helliwell of the University of British Columbia and editor of the report. “We are encouraged that more and more governments around the world are listening and responding with policies that put well-being first. Countries with strong social and institutional capital not only support greater well-being, but are more resilient to social and economic crises.”
The least happy countries are the Ivory Coast, Guinea and Chad. Afghanistan and Syria also have some of the lowest levels of happiness, according to the data.