10 Happiest Countries in the World

Last Updated Jun 22, 2011 9:00 AM EDT

  • 10 Happiest Countries in the World

    by Kimberly Weisul

    It's one thing to rank cities or countries on their economies or employment prospects, but most people don't crave financial opportunity to the exclusion of all else. Most of us want to be happy, and in the past few years, a slew of studies, surveys, and research projects have been launched to figure out whose citizens are the most content.

    The difficulty, of course, is that what makes one person happy may make another person miserable. Now, the Better Life Initiative, from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), aims to fix that with a nifty, new tool that ranks 34 countries on 11 indicators. (The tool allows you to tweak criteria to fit your own stage of life.)

    Taking into account many of the factors associated with a "good life," such as income and education, it also adds citizens' answers to qualifty-of-life questions like,  "How satisfied are you with your life?" "How would you describe your health?" and "Do you know someone you could turn to in a time of need?"

    To see the happiest countries, and what makes them that way, start here.

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    Kimberly Weisul is the co-founder of One Thing New, the free email newsletter for smart, busy women. She was previously Senior Editor at BusinessWeek, responsible for all coverage of entrepreneurship and for launching BusinessWeek SmallBiz, a bimonthly magazine. She is also a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant.