It's official, we are happier than the Aussies, but not as merry as the Scandinavians.

The latest version of the World Happiness Report was released today and good old New Zealand was placed eighth in the world, one ahead of Australia.

This year's update, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), shows that Denmark is the happiest country in the world, the US is 13th and the UK doesn't even make the top 20.

Burundi was the most miserable, followed by war-ravaged Syria, Togo, Afghanistan and six other countries in sub-Saharan Africa - Benin, Rwanda, Guinea, Liberia, Tanzania and Madagascar - as the least happy of 157 countries.


The report compared data from 2005 to 2015 showing that Greece, which suffered enormously from the global recession and now faces a crippling migrant crisis, had the highest drop in happiness.

The United States, where sharp polarisation has been exposed in the 2016 presidential election campaign, outranked several Western European countries to be 13th most happy nation, up two spots from last year.

Germany was 16th, Britain 23rd and France 32nd. A string of Middle Eastern kingdoms - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain - outranked Italy, which came in at number 50, and Japan, which took the 53rd spot.

China, the world's most populous country, was ranked 83rd and India, the world's largest democracy, came in at 118.

The authors said six factors - GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption - explain almost three-quarters of the variation across different countries.

The report compared levels of happiness in 2005-2007, before the onset of the global recession, with 2013-2015, the most recent three-year period for which data from a Gallup World Poll is available.

Of the 126 countries for which comparable data was available, 55 had significant increases in happiness and 45 had significant decreases, the report found.

The top 10 countries ranked on the 2016 World Happiness Report:
1. Denmark
2. Switzerland
3. Iceland
4. Norway
5. Finland
6. Canada
7. Netheralnds
8. New Zealand
9. Australia
10. Sweden

Top 10 least happy countries
1 Burundi
2 Syria
3 Togo
4 Afghanistan
5 Benin
6 Rwanda
7 Guinea
8 Liberia
9 Tanzania
10 Madagascar

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