Wellbeing

These Are The Happiest, Richest, Healthiest And Safest Countries In The World

UK think-tank The Legatum Institute have released their annual Global Prosperity Index for the past year, with surprising results for us Aussies.

The Prosperity Index ranks countries according to their performance across eight equally-weighted sub-indexes including economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom and social capital. So basically, all the things you look for in a perfect country.

What’s interesting about this particular survey is that it doesn’t base prosperity solely on the country’s wealth. Rather, their definition of prosperity includes the happiness, health and safety of citizens.

Who came out on top?

European and Scandinavian countries were top performing countries for 2015. Norway took out the top spot, with its European cousins Switzerland and Denmark following closely behind.

It’s actually the seventh year in a row that Norway has taken out the top prize, thanks in most part to its high ranking in areas such as social capital, personal freedom and health. Anyone else suddenly itching for a trip to Scandinavia?

The Legatum Prosperity Index for 2015

#1 Norway
#2 Switzerland
#3 Denmark
#4 New Zealand
#5 Sweden
#6 Canada
#7 Australia
#8 Netherlands
#9 Finland
#10 Ireland
#11 United States
#12 Iceland
#13 Luxemboug
#14 Germany
#15 United Kingdom
#16 Austria
#17 Singapore
#18 Belgium
#19 Japan
#20 Hong Kong

New Zealand pipped us Aussies to the post to take out the number four spot, having fallen one spot from last year’s index. Our easterly neighbours ranked first for social capital, meaning their citizens are trustworthy, charitable and just all around great people to be around.

How did Australia fare?

Pretty well, actually. Australia placed seventh overall with our citizens’ life satisfaction sitting at a humble 7.3 out of 10. We’ve ranked seventh for three consecutive years, falling slowing from fourth place back in 2012.

Australia’s best performance was in the education sub-index where it ranked an impressive first place worldwide, which is surprising given how our universities rank in comparison.


Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.