At the bottom of the list of more than 150 countries was Burundi, where a violent political crisis broke out last year. Burundi was preceded by Syria, Togo, Afghanistan, Benin, Rwanda, Guinea, Liberia, Tanzania and Madagascar. All of those nations are poor, and many have been destabilized by war, disease or both.
The top 10 this year were Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden. Denmark was in third place last year, behind Switzerland and Iceland.
The bottom 10 were Madagascar, Tanzania, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi.
Of the world's most populous nations, China came in at No. 83, India at No. 118, the United States at No. 13, Indonesia at No. 79, Brazil at No. 17, Pakistan at No. 92, Nigeria at No. 103, Bangladesh at No. 110, Russia at No. 56, Japan at No. 53 and Mexico at No. 21. The United States rose two spots, from No. 15 in 2015.
From 2005 to 2015, Greece saw the largest drop in happiness of any country, a reflection of the economic crisis that began there in 2007.
The happiness ranking was based on individual responses to a global poll conducted by Gallup. The poll included a question, known as the Cantril Ladder: "Please imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?"
The scholars found that three-quarters of the variation across countries could be explained by six variables: gross domestic product per capita (the rawest measure of a nation's wealth); healthy years of life expectancy; social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times of trouble); trust (as measured by perceived absence of corruption in government and business); perceived freedom to make life choices; and generosity (as measured by donations).
The report was prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an international panel of social scientists that includes economists, psychologists and public health experts convened by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
该报告由可持续发展解决方案网络(Sustainable Development Solutions Network)撰写，这是一个由联合国秘书长潘基文(Ban Ki-moon)召集的国际社会科学家小组，其成员包括经济学家、心理学家和公共健康专家。
Though the findings do not represent the formal views of the United Nations, the network is closely tied to the Sustainable Development Goals, which the organization adopted in September aiming, among other things, to end poverty and hunger by 2030, while saving the planet from the most destructive effects of climate change.
这些发现并不代表联合国的正式观点，但该网络与可持续发展目标(Sustainable Development Goals)密切相关，它于2009年引入了该目标，意图在2030年前终结贫穷和饥饿，同时避免气候变化导致最具毁灭性的后果。
The field of happiness research has grown in recent years, but there is significant disagreement about how to measure happiness. Some scholars find people's subjective assessments of their well-being to be unreliable, and they prefer objective indicators like economic and health data. The scholars behind the World Happiness Report said they tried to take both types of data into account.
In a chapter of the report on the distribution of happiness around the world, three economists — John F. Helliwell, an economist at the University of British Columbia; Haifang Huang of the University of Alberta; and Shun Wang of the Korea Development Institute — argued against a widely held view that changes in people's assessments of their lives are largely transitory. Under this view, people have a baseline level of contentment and rapidly adapt to changing circumstances.
在该报告有关世界各地的幸福感状况的章节中，三名经济学家——不列颠哥伦比亚大学(University of British Columbia)经济学家约翰·F·哈利维尔(John F. Helliwell)，阿尔伯塔大学(University of Alberta)的黄海方（音）和韩国发展研究院(Korea Development Institute)的王顺（Shun Wang，音）——反对一种普遍观点，即人们对其生活的评估的改变在很大程度上是暂时的。这种观点认为，人们有一个满足底线，能够迅速适应变换的环境。
The three economists noted research showing that people's evaluations of their lives "differ significantly and systematically among countries"; that within countries, subgroups differ widely in their levels of happiness; that unemployment and major disabilities have lasting influences on well-being; and that the happiness of migrants approximates that of their new country, instead of their country of origin.
The three economists noted that crises can prompt vastly different responses based on the underlying social fabric. In Greece, where the economy began to plummet in 2007, setting off a crisis in the eurozone that has resulted in three financial bailouts, widespread corruption and mistrust were associated with the diminishing sense of happiness over the past decade.
In contrast, trust and "social capital" are so high in Japan that scholars found, to their surprise, that happiness actually increased in Fukushima, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, because an outpouring of generosity and cooperation contributed to the community's resilience and rebuilding.
"A crisis imposed on a weak institutional structure can actually further damage the quality of the supporting social fabric if the crisis triggers blame and strife rather than cooperation and repair," the economists wrote. "On the other hand, economic crises and natural disasters can, if the underlying institutions are of sufficient quality, lead to improvements rather than damage to the social fabric."