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News Release 08-110

Despite Frustrations, Americans Are Pretty Darned Happy

World Values Survey ranks nations, reports happiness is improving worldwide

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Photo of five happy people.

The latest wave of World Values Surveys shows happiness increased worldwide from 1981 to 2007 in 45 of 52 countries for which substantial time series data was available. Denmark topped the list in happiness followed by Puerto Rico and Columbia. Moldova, Armenia and Zimbabwe were at the bottom. The United States ranked 16.

Credit: Jupiter Images


Political scientist Ronald Inglehart, World Values Survey director at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, says greater economic growth, democratization and social tolerance in 45 of 52 countries for which substantial time series data was available highlights a trend of growing happiness worldwide.

Credit: World Values Survey/University of Michigan/National Science Foundation


Photo of a happy man.

According to recently released World Values Survey data, Denmark ranks as the happiest nation in the world and Zimbabwe ranks as the least happy. See where other surveyed nations rank (PDF, 29KB).

Credit: © 2008 Jupiter Images Corporation