Scandinavian countries Denmark, Finland and Norway have been declared the three happiest nations in the world during the last six years (2005 to 2011), according to a Gallup poll.
An L.A. Times report has listed the ten happiest countries, as follows:
Denmark Finland Norway Netherlands Canada Switzerland Sweden New Zealand Australia Ireland
The United States ranks 11th. The unhappiest countries were Togo (ranked last), Benin, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Comoros, Haiti, Tanzania, Congo and Bulgaria.
Bhutan, which pioneered the happiness index, is not included in the Gallup World Poll.
The unhappiest countries are also some of the poorest. The four happiest countries have incomes that are 40 times higher than the four unhappiest countries, the report said.
People can also expect to live 28 years longer in the happiest nations.
But economic growth doesn''t necessarily drive up happiness, the report found.
For instance, U.S. incomes have grown dramatically since the 1960s, yet average happiness hasn''t changed, past research has found.
Freedom and trust in government are also big factors in happiness, the report said.
Economists John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs have prepared the happiness quotient report.