While Americans are getting unhappier, Norwegians are laughing as are the Swedes and the Danes. So, if you want to feel happier, then pack your bags and move east and north. According to the 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index covering 142 of the world’s countries, Scandinavia is the place where the inhabitants have much to be happy about.

Norway tops the list, Denmark comes in second and Sweden on third. The study is made by the Legatum Institute, which this year has added 32 new countries, and 89 factors are considered such as education, health care, as well as the financial situation in the country and whether the inhabitants feel safe and sound.


For the first time the U.S. is not among the top ten countries, but falls back to number 12. It is the dire employment market and the fact that so many Americans have to fight hard to get their economy together, that makes the US a less happy country to live in. Luxemburg is the country where the inhabitants are healthiest, Iceland is the safest country, and Switzerland has the best economy in the world, as well as the best government, according to the study. Finland is number 7, and Iceland places 15.

Last on the list is the Central African Republic, next to last is Congo, and third from last is Afghanistan. Iraq is on 131st place, and China on 55th.

For the full report and list, see The 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index - A "unique global inquiry into wealth and wellbeing." The annual ranking is published by the Legatum Institute, a privately funded think-tank founded in 2007 and located in Mayfair, London.

For instance Forbes Magazine picked up on the report to create a slideshow under the headline "The World's Happiest and Saddest Countries"