Australia Is the World’s Happiest Country — Again

Are you unhappy right now? That's probably because you don't live Down Under.

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The flag of Australia

Are you unhappy right now? That’s probably because you don’t live Down Under. For the third year in a row, Australia has topped the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Better Life Index, which ranks developed nations based on how satisfied residents are with their lives.

Meanwhile, Sweden and Canada were runners-up, and the U.S. grabbed the sixth place.

(MORE: Where Are the World’s Friendliest Countries?)

So what makes Australia so great? Thank the economy. Because of its booming mining industry and strong trading ties with China, the island nation managed to deflect most of the recessionary effects that hit Europe and the U.S. As the Wall Street Journal reports, Australia’s had 21 years of steady economic growth, and its 5.5% unemployment rate (in April) is less than half the average in the euro zone.

(MORE: Australia Tells Chinese Tourists: Welcome! (And Bring Your Checkbooks))

The country is also enjoying a tourist boom, in part because of an influx of Chinese and American visitors, who are flocking there despite record-high exchange rates. All told, Australians ranked their life-satisfaction at 7.2 out of 10, according to the study. The average, meanwhile, was 6.6.

That’s not to say everything is all cheery Down Under. The country faces dwindling consumer confidence amid a rise in the country’s high cost of living. Australians also rank pretty poorly in work-life balance, with more than 14% of the population working very long hours — 5% higher than the average. And there’s always the occasional kangaroo attack.

(MORE: Easy Living in Australia: The Most Livable Cities in the World)

But that’s all trumped by the quality of life, laid-back attitude and growing cities, which rank as some of the most livable in the world. As Sydney resident Gaurav Chawla told the Journal: “It’s more secure here, cleaner, less cars on the road and less pollution.”

Here’s the full ranking:

  1. Australia
  2. Sweden
  3. Canada
  4. Norway
  5. Switzerland
  6. The U.S.
  7. Denmark
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Iceland
  10. The U.K.