For my fellow Americans, we did not make the cut. Forbes has gathered information about both classes of country (here and here), and it’s from these helpful lists, neither of which features the U.S. in the top 10, that this larger one is drawn. Yes, the United States is a wonderful place: freedom of speech, Law & Order reruns, and cheap fuel. I know the suspense is killing you and that’s not healthy. Let’s find out where happiness and health abound.
Canada: This one has to upset Americans. Canada, right next door, is happier and healthier than the superpower with which it shares a border. Despite a relatively low number of doctors per capita, the socialized medicine (which sounds awesome right now) and long life expectancies make Canada one of the safest places to live. They’ve also got a high number of financially thriving citizens, boosting their happiness ranking several notches past that of the United States. We’re so close, yet so far.
Costa Rica: Costa Rica’s health is average, but what makes the country so special is how unexpectedly high its happiness rating is. Fully 63 percent of its people are thriving, thanks in many ways to a cultural emphasis on community and togetherness that bonds the citizens to each other in a manner often lost in larger countries. It’s one of the highest ranked countries in the world in terms of environmental performance and human development, too. Glee actor Harry Shum is from Costa Rica.