Researchers at the Legatum Institute in London took on the task of ranking the happiest countries in the world. The results appeared in an article posted in Forbes on 01/15/2013. Because of the touchy-feeley nature of "happy", the researchers called it prosperity instead.
They defined happiness as being healthy, having enough food for self and family, having enough money to buy and do what you want, having a nice home, decent clothing, a car or two, cable TV, good times with family and friends.
They also said that happiness means being able to speak what's on your mind without fear, to worship the God of your choice, to feel safe in your home, and having the opportunity to get an education or to become an entrepreneur.
They ranked Norway as #1, Denmark as #2 and Sweden as # 3. Norway was ranked #1 because it has a GDP of $57,000/year, the second highest level of satisfaction with their standard of living, 95% say they are satisfied with the freedom to choose the direction of their lives, 74% say people can be trusted, and the massive welfare state is bank rolled by high taxes and big reserves of offshore oil and gas.
According to the Index, Luxembourg is the healthiest country in the world. All of the top ten happiest countries are in Europe.
For the first time in (6) years, the USA is not ranked among the top 10. The USA is ranked as #12. According to the Ligatum Prosperity Index, the USA has slipped in the areas of governance, personal freedom, entrepreneurship, and opportunity.