Some of the happiest places, nations and states

There are many reports out there that list the happiest places in the World and we thought we’d list some of the most popular ones. From nations to cities and states, there are certain places in the world that just seem happier. Why is this and what makes a happy place? Well maybe our listings can throw some light on that!

cornish beach
happy beach, happy days!

HAPPIEST NATIONS, TOP FIVE

What’s the secret to these happy countries – is it the location, environment, politics, culture, or just something in the water?

While we may never know the precise reasons, after compiling data from various resources like the Happy Planet Index, the World Happiness report, and Forbes’ list of happiest countries,

we can at least let you know what the 10 happiest countries in the world are.

Then, all that’s left for you to do is pack your bags, pick a country, and make your move.

COSTA RICA

Not only does Costa Rica abound with natural beauty, from the sandy beaches and ocean waters to the volcanoes and lush rainforests, but the people of this army-free country also report having one of the highest life satisfactions in the world. With a high life expectancy of 79.3 years, locals get to enjoy the pleasant living for years and years. It’s no wonder that their local saying, “pura vida”, loosely translates to “life is good”, if you have good health insurance for your trip there!

NORWAY

It’s not surprising that Norway tends to rank very high on world happiness reports – it’s one of the most prosperous countries in the world, has the 2nd highest level of satisfaction with standards of living, and three quarters of its residents report that they have more positive than negative experiences each day. The country is also one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth, with an abundance of fjords, glaciers, and mountains.

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland is simply stunning, with its towering snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes, and environments that range from lush to frozen. Its people are also some of the happiest, with higher than average life expectancies, strong health rankings, plenty of community involvement, and great safety. Plus, in a place that’s known for its abundance of delectable chocolate, how could you ever be sad?

VIETNAM

According to several reports, Vietnam is the happiest country in all of Asia. Residents have a very high level of satisfaction with their life, enjoying the gorgeous beaches, green mountains, dramatic scenery, and mouthwatering regional cuisine.

AUSTRALIA

Don’t let all the sharks, snakes, and venomous spiders fool you – Australians are some of the happiest in the world. Not only do they live in one of the most adored spots on earth (who wouldn’t like sunny skies, coral reefs, and white sand beaches?), but they also rank high in many life-happiness categories; they have some of the highest scores for community engagement, health, environmental care, and employment.

Other countries that could have easily made our list include New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Austria and Germany.

 

HAPPIEST U.S. STATES

Here is a list of the happiest U.S. states by most measures. It is interesting how the top two are not part of the 48!

Alaska
Hawaii
South Dakota
Wyoming
Montana

Why is Hawaii so popular when it is actually quites expensive?

Living in Hawaii and Housing Cost

To rent a place in Hawaii is significantly more expensive than in most places on the U.S. mainland. A studio on Oahu, for example, costs anywhere from $700-$1,200+ per month, depending on the location. A two-bedroom apartment or a house typically starts from $1,500 per month and up. Luxurious newly-built one-bedroom condos typically rent for $2,500 and up.

When looking at the average wage people make in Hawaii, it is clear that it falls far short of the average wage required to rent a two-bedroom apartment, according to 2013 data made available by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Hawaii is currently $1,671. To be able to afford this rent without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household has to earn $5,571 per month or $66,853 per year.

On the other hand Alaska seems more affordable…

The cost of living in many cities throughout Alaska is affordable and is significantly less expensive than San Francisco, Honolulu, Manhattan and a handful of other U.S. cities.

The state’s best offerings are free

And that’s not all. Places like Anchorage and Fairbanks provide all the conveniences of large cities, but without the congestion and hassles. Commutes can be shorter, so you don’t need to burn a lot of gas. There are greenbelts and parks everywhere with access to dozens of activities for families: world-class fishing, skiing, snow machining, ice skating, sledding, hiking, biking and rafting are just a stone’s throw away. And taking advantage of them doesn’t require money for a plane ticket and hotel. Open spaces are right out your front door. In other words, the best parts of Alaska are completely free!

HAPPIEST CITIES ON EARTH – YOUR TOP FIVE

Copenhagen, Denmark

There’s something annoyingly amazing about the Danes. Just 5.5 million people live in a country half the size of Ireland, and yet they’ve managed to create some of the best welfare models, restaurants and TV shows on earth.

Florianopolis, Brazil

Where? Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be the first to ask. But readers of ‘Conde Nast Traveller’ recently voted Florianapolis the world’s friendliest city. Happy days: Brazil is enjoying a big couple of years, hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne retains the crown of “most liveable” city in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Livability Report for 2014. In plain English, that puts the Australian city top of the pile when it comes to stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna occupies the No.1 spot on the Mercer Quality of Living Survey, ranking for several years now as global consulting companies’ top city (Zurich and Auckland followed as second and third)

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver may have more Starbucks than soul, but it’s rarely absent from lists of the world’s happiest, most livable and beautiful cities. Most recently, it finished third behind Melbourne and Vienna on The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 Global Livability Report.