Israel Ranks 11th in 2016 World Happiness Report

Israel places above the U.S. but below Scandinavian nations, Canada, Australia.

A man with an Israeli flag sits on a chair in the sea on Independence Day, April 23, 2015.
Moti Milrod

Israelis may love to complain, but they’re some of the happiest people in the world, according to a happiness report published Wednesday.

Israelis rank 11 out of 157 nations, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report. This places them above the United States.

The report, conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia, compares the reported happiness of residents of 157 nations and is being released in advance of World Happiness Day on March 20.

The top 10 this year were Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.

The report, prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, showed Syria, Afghanistan and eight sub-Saharan countries as the 10 least happy places on earth to live.

In the first year the report was published, 2012, Israel ranked 14.

The report is based on 3,000 respondents in each of the 157 countries.

Aiming to “survey the scientific underpinnings of measuring and understanding subjective well-being,” the report, now in its fourth edition, ranks 157 countries by happiness levels using factors such as per-capita gross domestic product, social support and healthy life expectancy.

Respondents were asked to grade their lives on a scale of 0 to 10.

Israel received a score of 7.267 points, versus the average of 5.353 points.

Canada, Australia, the United States and New Zealand were considered the happiest “region,” with an average score of 7.125 points.

The United States came in at 13, the United Kingdom at 23, France at 32 and Italy at 50.

“There is a very strong message for my country, the United States, which is very rich, has gotten a lot richer over the last 50 years, but has gotten no happier,” said Professor Jeffrey Sachs, one of the report’s authors. Sachs is head of the SDSN and special advisor to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

With reporting by Reuters.