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Where life is good Switzerland loses top spot in happiness report

Sunset along the shores of Lake Zug: the Swiss remain among the happiest in the world, at least according to the 2016 World Happiness Report.

Sunset along the shores of Lake Zug: the Swiss remain among the happiest in the world, at least according to the 2016 World Happiness Report.

(Keystone)


Switzerland’s status as the world’s happiest country has been usurped by Denmark, according to the latest edition of the World Happiness Report presented in Rome on Wednesday. 

The study, produced by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, analyses indicators such as political systems, the degree of corruption in society, education and health care for 157 countries. The 2016 study – its fourth edition – for the first time takes into account the consequences of income inequality. 

Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland have consistently ranked in the top four happiest countries, with Switzerland claiming first place in 2015. With the exception of Australia, New Zealand and Canada, all countries in this year’s top 10 are located in Europe. 

Neither the wave of refugees entering Europe nor the terror attack in Paris in November 2015 had significant effects on the happiness of European countries. France dropped to 32nd place from 29th in 2015, while Austria advanced one spot to 12th place. Germany took the biggest leap forward, jumping from 26th to 16th place, and Italy stayed in 50th

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On the other end of the spectrum, sub-Saharan Africa remains the world’s unhappiest region, with eight countries scoring in the bottom 10. The world’s unhappiest countries are Burundi, followed by Syria. 

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