Where the happy people are

“Happiness, whether in business or private life, leaves very little trace in history.”

~ Fernand Braudel

Happy? The eternal quest, and equally, the rub. The perception of happiness, though, imprints the economies of cities, states and countries that depend on tourism.

As the curious g readers know by now, I find the reports on the study of happiness (follow all the happiness links) fascinating. With each passing year, there are more and more studies on this topic. And while each is measured by a different standard, the quest to achieve that ultimate state seems to occupy the world as we know it today.

But what comes with that quest? Does money equal happiness, or health, or work/life balance? How each of us defines it, and/or achieves it – our happy (or lack thereof) state of mind contributes to the larger society around us.

These recent studies locate the happiest places to be in living within the US, and around the world. So if you’re interested in relocating to find the contentment you seek, here are the best places to start.

The US’s 10 Happiest States

study of happiness, happy places, happiest cities and countries, happiness index, finding your happy place, state of mind,According to the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, these are the happiest states. This Index queried participants on physical health, emotional health, lifestyle behaviors, access to health care, work environment, and overall life satisfaction. Hawaii has once again proved to be the happiest state.

1 > Hawaii
2 > Colorado
3 > Minnesota
4 > Utah
5 > Vermont
6 > Nebraska
7 > Montana
8 > New Hampshire
9 > Iowa
10 > Massachusetts

The World’s 10 Happiest Cities

study of happiness, happy places, happiest cities and countries, happiness index, finding your happy place, state of mind,If the US is too tiny an area, Europe, South America and Australia are the next places to consider, according to the 2009 Anholt-GfK Roper City Brands Index. With a heavy emphasis on Mediterranean and Latin American cultures generalized as life-loving people, and Australians stereotyped as pint-and-sport lovers, that leaves room for only one US city: San Francisco. And since that’s where some left their heart, well…you get the idea. I’m sure the data reveal much finer distinctions.

1 > Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2 > Sydney, Australia
3 > Barcelona, Spain
4 > Amsterdam, Netherlands
5 > Melbourne, Australia
6 > Madrid, Spain
7 > San Francisco, CA US
8 > Rome, Italy
9 > Paris, France
10 > Buenos Aires, Argentina

The World’s 10 Happiest Countries

study of happiness, happy places, happiest cities and countries, happiness index, finding your happy place, state of mind,The good news from this 2012 Ipsos study reveals that when respondents considered global financial woes and conflict, the world is apparently 2% happier now than it was when 20% reported they were ‘very happy’ in 2007. Progress.

1 > Indonesia
2 > India
3 > Mexico
4 > Brazil
5 > Turkey
6 > Australia
7 > United States
8 > Canada
9 > Argentina
1o > Great Britain

Having said all of the above…

In most of the previous studies that I’ve blogged about, the Scandinavian countries usually rise to the top. Denmark has been number one most frequently. In this Prosperity ranking, Norway has topped, with Denmark second, followed closely by Sweden. Once again, the United States failed to break the top ten. Test out the interactive map – a terrific visual for scanning the rankings in eight categories.

1 > Norway
2 > Denmark
3 > Sweden
4 > Australia
5 > New Zealand
6 > Canada
7 > Finland
8 > Netherlands
9 > Switzerland
10 > Ireland

There you have it. If your happiness is a place – get on with it.

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