Does money buy happiness? Not necessarily. Well, certainly not if you look at the UN’s World Happiness Report rankings for 2018.
The UN considers six different factors — GDP, life expectancy, social support, generosity, freedom, and corruption — across 156 countries when putting together this list. GOBankingRates.com then looked at the rankings and determined the average annual wage and unemployment rate for each country (using data from Trading Economics) as well as the monthly cost of a one-bedroom apartment in a city center (using data from Numbeo) to determine if there was a strong correlation between economic factors and overall happiness.
So what are the happiest countries and how much money are the people making who live in these places?
Average annual wage: $50,098
Average annual wage: $67,964
Average annual wage: $79, 570
Average annual wage: $73,431
Average annual wage: $80,068
Average annual wage: $44,942
Average annual wage: $40,602
8. New Zealand
Average annual wage: $46,758
Average annual wage: $43,181
Average annual wage: $48,638
Clearly Nordic people have figured out life way better than Americans. The U.S. didn’t even crack the top 15. It came in at 18th place despite a GDP per capita of $53,476.
Though citizens of the Nordic region pay more in taxes, have lower GDP per capita than the U.S. and may spend much of the winter in darkness these countries have clearly figured out happiness.
Benefits such as basic healthcare in Norway, a stable political and economic climate in Switzerland, and 25 days of paid leave in Sweden contribute to these countries’ high rankings.