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Germans surpass Brits in UN world happiness report

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People drinking beer on a sunny day in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA.
16:29 CET+01:00
Germany leaped and bounded up the scale of happiness, surpassing the comparatively gloomy Brits for the first time in the UN report on Wednesday.

While Germany was rated a moderately impressive 16th out of more than 150 countries worldwide, this was a significant leap above its spot at number 26 in last year's ratings by the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Germany had hovered around spot 26 since 2012 when the World Happiness Report first launched, falling behind most of its west European allies - Denmark at the top this year, followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Finland.

But Germany managed to raise its score of happiness above that of the United Kingdom (at number 23) for the first time, also beating out France, Brazil and Ireland.

The report looked at data recording how highly people evaluate their lives on a scale running from 0 to 10. The rankings, which are based on surveys in 157 countries, revealed a world average score of 5.1.

Germany had a score of 6.994.

“Measuring self-reported happiness and achieving well-being should be on every nation's agenda,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, in a statement.

“Rather than taking a narrow approach focused solely on economic growth, we should promote societies that are prosperous, just, and environmentally sustainable.”

The happiest countries in the world

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1) Denmark
2) Switzerland
3) Iceland
4) Norway
5) Finland
6) Canada
7) The Netherlands
8) New Zealand
9) Australia
10) Sweden

The least happy countries in the world

148) Madagascar
149) Tanzania
150) Liberia
151) Guinea
152) Rwanda
153) Benin
154) Afghanistan
155) Togo
156) Syria
157) Burundi

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