You’re Probably Not Living in One of the Happiest Places on Earth

GlobeHow are you feeling today? Pretty chipper and upbeat? Well, the United Nations has just released an annual list that might bum you out. Sorry to break the news to you, my fellow Americans, but we're not living in one of the happiest places on Earth.

The UN's annual International Human Development list for 2011 puts the United States not first (that's Norway), nor second (Australia), nor even third (the Netherlands) on its list of the best places to live in the world. Nope, we slide in at only No. 4. The measure of well-being, which ranks countries around the globe, takes into account things like life expectancy, education, income, inequality, poverty, and gender inequality. And if you look at the numbers, Norway sure seems to have us beat in a lot of those areas. What a drag.

But hey, let's not get too sad about our relative lack of happiness.


Did the index take into account the average number of giant flat-screen TVs per household? I can't say for sure, but I'll bet it did not. How about smartphones per family? I'd bet we'd do pretty well on that sort of ranking. And what about ... um ... hmm ... average car size? How many other countries do you suppose have us beat there?

Look, bottom line: I'm sure Norway and Australia and the Netherlands are great places to live, with a lot to recommend them. But let's not despair too much about not being higher on the happiness list. If you feel your mood starting to slip, just remember this: We're still ranked more highly than 183 other countries. When you look at it that way, No. 4 starts to sound pretty good, no?

Are you surprised that the United States is only fourth on the list of best countries in which to live?


Image via stevecadman/Flickr

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