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The Huffington Post  |  By Posted:  |  Updated: 11/11/13 EST

The Happiest Countries In The World (INFOGRAPHIC)

Looking for the happiest place on Earth? No, it's not in Anaheim, California. The world's reserves of joy and well-being seem to be concentrated in Northern Europe, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network's 2013 World Happiness Report.

Take a look at the infographic below for the world's happiest countries, and how global happiness has changed over the past five years.

The findings above were calculated by looking at the state of well-being in 156 nations across the globe, using analysis from experts in economics, psychology, survey analysis, and national statistics to make a case for why well-being should be considered a measure of national development. Happiness isn't only beneficial for individual mental and physical health and corporate bottom lines -- it may also contribute to the progress and development of entire nations, according to the authors of the report.

Last year's United Nations report was the first large-scale survey on the state of global happiness. This year's findings were released two weeks prior to the United Nations General Assembly, calling on leaders and policymakers to consider happiness and well-being a measure of social and economic development. The report will provide guidance for policymakers on including well-being in national decision-making.

"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," Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs, special advisor to the UN Secretary General and co-editor of the report, said in a press release. "More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world's well-being and sustainable development."

Many countries showed improvements in well-being over the course of the five-year study period, Professor John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia, co-editor of the report, told the Globe & Mail.

"Life is getting better in unsung ways in many places -- enough so that the world is slowly becoming a happier place," he said.

Still, the world's happiest countries are largely concentrated in Northern Europe. These Nordic nations ranked highest on the survey's six happiness metrics of real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption and generosity. It's not the first time the Danes have claimed the title of world's happiest nation -- an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report last year found that Denmark had the highest life satisfaction ratings, with 88 percent of citizens responding with positive emotions when asked, "How are you feeling today?"

Canada, coming in below Sweden, earned its spot largely due to life expectancy, high median incomes and strong community ties, according to the survey.

But the U.S. lagged behind, coming in at 17th, just below Mexico. The placement echoes other recent findings on national well-being: The United States slipped from 10th place to 12th in the Legatum Prosperity Index's list of the world's happiest countries, with declining rankings in the realms of governance, personal freedom, and entrepreneurship and opportunity.

Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • 48. District of Columbia

    80% of the participants in the District of Columbia were honest based on this experiment.

  • 47. West Virginia

    85% of the participants in West Virginia were honest based on this experiment.

  • 46. Texas

    87% of the participants in Texas were honest based on this experiment.

  • 45. Kentucky

    87% of the participants in Kentucky were honest based on this experiment.

  • 44. Utah

    88% of the participants in Utah were honest based on this experiment.

  • 43. Delaware

    88% of the participants in Delaware were honest based on this experiment.

  • 42. Maryland

    89% of the participants in Maryland were honest based on this experiment.

  • 41. Connecticut

    89% of the participants in Connecticut were honest based on this experiment.

  • 40. South Dakota

    90% of the participants in South Dakota were honest based on this experiment.

  • 39. North Carolina

    90% of the participants in North Carolina were honest based on this experiment.

  • 38. New Mexico

    90% of the participants in New Mexico were honest based on this experiment.

  • 37. Kansas

    90% of the participants in Kansas were honest based on this experiment.

  • 36. Idaho

    90% of the participants in Idaho were honest based on this experiment.

  • 35. Pennsylvania

    91% of the participants in Pennsylvania were honest based on this experiment.

  • 34. New York

    91% of the participants in New York were honest based on this experiment.

  • 33. Missouri

    92% of the participants in Missouri were honest based on this experiment.

  • 32. Michigan

    92% of the participants in Michigan were honest based on this experiment.

  • 31. Florida

    92% of the participants in Florida were honest based on this experiment.

  • 30. Wisconsin

    93% of the participants in Wisconsin were honest based on this experiment.

  • 29. Rhode Island

    93% of the participants in Rhode Island were honest based on this experiment.

  • 28. New Hampshire

    93% of the participants in New Hampshire were honest based on this experiment.

  • 27. Montana

    93% of the participants in Montana were honest based on this experiment.

  • 26. Massachusetts

    93% of the participants in Massachusetts were honest based on this experiment.

  • 25. Georgia

    93% of the participants in Georgia were honest based on this experiment.

  • 24. Colorado

    93% of the participants in Colorado were honest based on this experiment.

  • 23. Wyoming

    94% of the participants in Wyoming were honest based on this experiment.

  • 22. South Carolina

    94% of the participants in South Carolina were honest based on this experiment.

  • 21. Minnesota

    94% of the participants in Minnesota were honest based on this experiment.

  • 20. Illinois

    94% of the participants in Illinois were honest based on this experiment.

  • 19. Virginia

    95% of the participants in Virginia were honest based on this experiment.

  • 18. Vermont

    95% of the participants in Vermont were honest based on this experiment.

  • 17. Ohio

    95% of the participants in Ohio were honest based on this experiment.

  • 16. Washington

    96% of the participants in Washington were honest based on this experiment.

  • 15. Oregon

    96% of the participants in Oregon were honest based on this experiment.

  • 14. North Dakota

    96% of the participants in North Dakota were honest based on this experiment.

  • 13. New Jersey

    96% of the participants in New Jersey were honest based on this experiment.

  • 12. Nebraska

    96% of the participants in Nebraska were honest based on this experiment.

  • 11. California

    96% of the participants in California were honest based on this experiment.

  • 10. Arkansas

    96% of the participants in Arkansas were honest based on this experiment.

  • 9. Alaska

    96% of the participants in Alaska were honest based on this experiment.

  • 8. Tennessee

    98% of the participants in Tennessee were honest based on this experiment.

  • 7. Oklahoma

    98% of the participants in Oklahoma were honest based on this experiment.

  • 6. Nevada

    98% of the participants in Nevada were honest based on this experiment.

  • 5. Iowa

    98% of the participants in Iowa were honest based on this experiment.

  • 4. Maine

    99% of the participants in Maine were honest based on this experiment.

  • 3. Indiana

    99% of the participants in Indiana were honest based on this experiment.

  • 2. Hawaii

    100% of the participants in Hawaii were honest based on this experiment.

  • 1. Alabama

    100% of the participants in Alabama were honest based on this experiment.

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