Music & Art Jun 11, 2013

Iceland Ranked Ninth-Happiest Nation Worldwide

Icelanders have one more thing to smile about after being ranked as the 9th happiest nation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s most recent Better Life Index . The index calculates and compares well-being across countries through reports of life satisfaction, average income, community, civic engagement, and a number of other factors.

The OECD measure of general happiness, or “Life Satisfaction,” measures participants’ reported number of average daily positive experiences (such as feelings of rest, accomplishment, and enjoyment) in comparison to average daily negative experiences (such as boredom, pain, and sadness). Eighty-seven percent of Icelanders reported having more positive experiences per day, in comparison to the OECD average of 80% across all participating countries.

Iceland’s OECD index results also suggest that money doesn’t buy happiness: the country received high Life Satisfaction scores despite a below-average net disposable income.

The report also indicated that Icelanders have a higher rate of employment and work fewer hours per year than the OECD average.

In addition to its high satisfaction score, the index gave Iceland a strong ranking in the public sphere, in both sense of community and civic engagement. Ninety-eight percent of Icelanders reported that they “know someone they could rely on in time of need,” surpassing the international OECD average of 90%. The country also ranked among the highest in the index system in voter turnout with a rate of around 85% in recent elections, indicating trust in the government and a feeling of duty toward civic participation.

Other areas of Better Life Index measurement include housing, education, environment, health, and safety. To learn more about Iceland’s scoring and the index results of other OECD countries, visit