Happy kids on the beach Happy kids on the beach Israelis' close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea is a reason for happiness. (Photo: hassi/Flickr)

And the happiest countries in the world are ...

Some newcomers to the U.N. list may surprise you.

Danes must be especially happy today, seeing as how a new United Nations report ranks Denmark as the happiest country in the world.

For the fourth time in five years, the United Nations' Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has sought to rank 156 countries by their happiness levels in their 2016 World Happiness Report.

Denmark leapfrogged last year's top two, Switzerland and Iceland. Norway repeated at No. 4, while Nos. 5 and 6 swapped places from a year ago, with Finland out-maneuvering Canada. The Netherlands came in at No. 7, while Nos. 8-10 were New Zealand, Australia and Sweden, respectively. Israel held strong at No. 11, while Austria, The United States, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico rounded out the top 15.

The report uses various economic and social criteria to arrive at its final rankings. The report's authors paid special attention this year to equality of happiness – how great a variation there was to be found in reported happiness among a nation's residents – and found a direct correlation between countries with a high rate of this equality and happiness in general.


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