Boy holding Israeli flag in land of Israel
Boy holding Israeli flag in land of IsraelIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The State of Israel ranked 11th out of 156 countries in the second annual World Happiness Report by the Earth Institute of Columbia University in New York.

Although, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Holland and Sweden made the top five; Israel ranked higher than the United States and blew away the competition for the happiest nation in the Middle East region. 

According to the report, "Six key variables explain three-quarters of the variation in annual national average scores over time and among countries. These six factors include: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity."

The Report also shows the major beneficial side-effects of happiness: happy people live longer, are more productive, earn more, and are also better citizens.

Israel jumped three spots in the rankings after placing 14th last year. The United States dropped 6 spots this year coming in at 17th and the United Kingdom came 22nd.

Israel's neighboring countries in the Middle East are, in comparison, less happy due to said "government corruption and the degree of personal freedom." 

“There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being,” noted Professor Jeffery Sachs, who was involved in the study. “More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world."

Governments are increasingly measuring happiness with the goal of making well-being an objective of policy.

Based on Israel's evaluation score and leading experts in the field, happiness seems to be a critical component to the development and progress of the nation.