World Map


The Americas rate very high on happiness scores across each year, followed by Europe (especially Northern, which has some of the happiest countries in the world), Eastern Asia and then Africa by a large margin. Saudi Arabia and Israel are very happy countries surrounded by some of the least happy countries in the world. Australia and New Zealand rate very highly on happiness. Happiness Rankings don’t seem to drastically change anywhere that much over this time span.


As shown in the correlogram, Economy and Happiness are highly correlated with a correlation coefficient of 0.79. Economy plays the largest role in explaining overall happiness for many countries. Economy is measured by GDP per capita and is therefore only marginally changes over this time span. North America rates highly here as does western and Northern Europe, Australia and some of the resource rich middle eastern countries. Africa has some of the lowest scores here and by a large margin.


Family is highly correlated with happiness, with a correlation coefficient of 0.77. This factor plays a significant role in explaining countries overall happiness, especially for countries who don’t rank as highly on Economy. The variance among countries across this factor is very small, most countries score highly here, and the only low scores are in south Asia, the Middle East and Middle Africa.


Health is highly correlated with happiness with a correlation coefficient of 0.77. Health is also highly correlated with Economy (0.83) as wealthier countries have better access to good health care and food. The lowest scoring countries are in Africa, south Asia and the less wealthy Middle East countries. Western and Northern Europe have most of the highest scores. In many African countries there are drastic increases in health from 2015 to 2019, whereas most of the rest of the world is largely unchanged.


Freedom is moderately correlated with happiness with a coefficient of 0.55. Overall, freedom does not play a very large role in explaining countries overall happiness. Freedom is not very correlated with other factors and therefore several countries score differently here than in other factors. Notably, Eastern African countries score highly here as do south Asian countries. Over this time span there aren’t any worldwide trends in freedom, just certain countries having more and others having less.


Trust has a very weak correlation to happiness with a coefficient of 0.39. Trust does not play a large role in explaining happiness and for many countries in the world trust is the second least significant factor. Canada, Northern Europe and Australia score highly in trust. Trust played a larger role in overall happiness in the Americas in 2015 than 2019 and south Asia has seen the inverse trend.


Generosity has a weak correlation with happiness with a coefficient of 0.08. Generosity has the smallest correlation with happiness among all the factors and in most countries is the least significant factor in explaining happiness. Generosity is also largely uncorrelated with the other factors. The United States and Canada score highly as do many countries in Africa and South Asia and the Middle East. South America and many European countries score low here, especially relative to their number of countries with high economy ratings. Generosity and Economy have a negative correlation of 0.08, so in countries where economy plays an important role in their overall happiness, they care less about generosity, the inverse is also true. Generosity has increased in Africa and Asia across this timespan.

Dystopia Residual

The Dystopia Residual is the difference between a country’s happiness score and the sum of their scores in the six measured factors plus 1.88. The 1.88 comes from the estimated happiness in the theoretical country ‘Dystopia’ and this is added so the combined value will always be positive. Countries with dystopia residuals below 1.88 are less happy than expected based on the six measured factors and countries with residuals higher are happier than expected. These values highlight how well the six measured factors comprise what makes people happy. Middle African Countries have high happiness residuals as do the Americas, suggesting that there is a lot more that goes into what makes them happy than what is measured by the six factors. Numerous countries in Asia and the Middle East have residual scores below 1.88 suggesting that they are less happy than they are expected to be and some of this variance is due to unmeasured factors.