Great news, Earthlings! As a whole, you were 0.5 percent happier from 2010 to 2012 than you were from 2005 to 2007.
Statisticians may think that’s a negligible number, but part of being happy is looking on the bright side, right?
Still, if you live in the U.S., you might find even that size of increase suspect.
This information on world happiness comes courtesy of the 2013 World Happiness Report, published by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Researchers analyzed data on happiness from residents of more than 150 countries.
The five happiest countries were Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden. This despite their cold, dark winters.
The United States ranked as 17th-happiest — slightly happier than Ireland (No. 18) and a little less happy than Mexico (No. 16).
Americans saw their overall happiness drop by about 3 percent over the five-year period between surveys, said the report’s authors, who included Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
The unhappiest countries were the Central African Republic (No. 154), Benin (No. 155) and Togo (No. 156), which placed last.
The authors found that in general, happiness was up 7 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, up 5.1 percent in East Asia and up 5.9 percent in the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet republics). It was down 11.7 percent in the Middle East and North Africa and 6.8 percent in South Asia.
To determine which countries were the happiest, the researchers asked an average of 3,000 people per country to rank their overall sense of life satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10.
The researchers identified six main dimensions to happiness: income, mental and physical health, social support, freedom to make your own choices, being inclined to help others, and living under a government that doesn’t seem corrupt.