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World Happiness Report 2017: See the world's 17 happiest countries

Happiness is a state of mind — but it can also be a place. Specifically Norway, which has been crowned as the world's happiest country in the World Happiness Report 2017.

It's closely followed by two other Nordic nations, Denmark and Iceland, and then Switzerland in the annual report, which was published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and released at the United Nations on March 20, 2017.

The rankings are calculated using data from the Gallup World Poll. The full report can be found at

1. Norway

Norwegian fans wait for the beginning of the
Photo Credit: AP / Matthias Schrader

Norway takes the title of the world's happiest country in 2017. It climbed three spots from fourth in 2016 -- though, as the report notes, the top four's scores are close to one another's. Those countries "rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance," the report says.

Above, Norwegian fans wait for the beginning of the women's semifinal handball match between Norway and Russia at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 18, 2016.

2. Denmark

Women wear pink knit hats during a rally
Photo Credit: EPA / Nikolai Linares

Denmark was dethroned from the top spot it claimed in 2016, but No. 2 is still plenty happy. "What works in the Nordic countries is a sense of community and understanding in the common good," explained Meik Wiking, chief executive officer of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, to The Associated Press. Wiking was not part of the World Happiness Report.

Above, a woman and girl wear the "pussy hat" during a rally for International Women's Day in Copenhagen this March.

3. Iceland

Thufa Hill in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Oct. 28,
Photo Credit: AP / Frank Augstein

Iceland took the bronze medal in the 2017 rankings. Almost 99 percent of its population says "that they have someone to count on in times of trouble," the report notes.

Above, Thufa hill in Reykjavik on Oct. 28, 2016.

4. Switzerland

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 19: Roger Federer
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

Switzerland is fourth in the 2017 happiness rankings after taking second the year before.

Above, Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer poses with his BNP Paribas Open trophy after defeating countryman Stan Wawrinka during the tournament's men's final at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., on March 19, 2017.

5. Finland

Johanna Nordblad, 42, Finnish freediver poses on a
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Olivier Morin

Finland rounds out the top five in the 2017 report. In one of its chapters, Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs notes that "the Nordic countries far outpace the U.S. on personal freedom, social support, and lower corruption."

Above, Finnish freediver Johanna Nordblad, 42, poses on a frozen lake before an ice freediving training session on Feb. 28, 2017, in Somero, Finland.

6. The Netherlands

A Dutch national flag flies from the back
Photo Credit: Bloomberg / Simon Dawson

The Netherlands and Canada traded places in the 2017 report.

Above, a Dutch national flag flies from the back of a cargo vessel as it departs from a river service station on the River Rhine near Lobith in the Netherlands on Feb. 23, 2017.

7. Canada

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau smiles as he
Photo Credit: AP / Graham Hughes

Canada, which dropped one spot between 2016 and 2017, is the first non-Western European country to appear in this year's rankings.

Above, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared carefree at the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Montreal on March 19, 2017.

8. New Zealand

SINGAPORE - MARCH 04: Lydia Ko of New
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Redington

The Kiwis came in eighth in the 2017 rankings -- as they did in 2016.

Above, Lydia Ko of New Zealand smiles on the practice range during the third round of the HSBC Women's Champions on the Tanjong Course at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore on March 4, 2017.

9. Australia

epa05843519 Michelle Paterson with her craft Wings of
Photo Credit: EPA / Joe Castro

New Zealand's neighbor, Australia, also remained in the same place in the new rankings, remaining in ninth.

Above, Michelle Paterson with her craft Wings of Destiny takes the plunge during the Birdman rally at the Moomba festival at Birrarung Marr Park in Melbourne on March 12, 2017.

10. Sweden

Waterways thread through the city of Stockholm, and
Photo Credit: Image Bank Sweden / Ola Erickson

Sweden ranks fifth among Nordic countries in the happiness report -- and 10th in the world. This file photo shows the capital of Stockholm, which features waterways that thread through the city.

11. Israel

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men wearing costumes dance on a
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Menahem Kahana

Israel comes in first in happiness in the Middle East, according to the 2017 report.

Above, ultra-Orthodox Jewish men wearing costumes dance on a street in the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak on March 12, 2017, during the feast of Purim.

12. Costa Rica

A woman smiles as she watches a fountain
Photo Credit: EPA / Jeffrey Arguedas

Costa Rica ranks as the happiest country in Latin America and the 12th-happiest in the world. Here a woman smiles as she watches a fountain in the capital, San Jose, on March 20, 2017.

13. Austria

Marcel Hirscher of Austria celebrates with his globe
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Sean M. Haffey

Austria comes in 13th in the rankings. Here Marcel Hirscher of Austria celebrates with his globe after winning the men's giant slalom season title during the 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals at Aspen Mountain in Aspen, Colorado, on March 18, 2017.

14. United States

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2016 file
Photo Credit: AP / Charlie Riedel

The United States dropped one place in the 2017 rankings. As income in the country has gone up over the past decade, self-reported happiness levels have fallen fast.

Above, a smiley face is seen on a sunflower in a sunflower field in Lawrence, Kansas, on Sept. 7, 2016.

15. Ireland

Towering 700 feet above the churning blue-green Atlantic
Photo Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto

Ah, Ireland. The green country cracks the top 15 this year, up from 19th in 2016. Iceland and then Ireland are "the best examples of happiness maintenance in the face of large external shocks" posed by the post-2007 economic crisis, the report says.

Seen here: the famed Cliffs of Moher, high above the churning blue-green Atlantic Ocean.

16. Germany

Four men dressed as kings arrive in the
Photo Credit: AP / Martin Meissner

It's sweet 16 for Germany in the happiness report.

Above, four men dressed as kings arrive in Cologne's city center as tens of thousands revelers dressed in carnival costumes celebrate the start of the street carnival there on Feb. 23, 2017.

17. Belgium

Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans, left, and Joris De Loore
Photo Credit: AP / Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Belgium rounds out our look at the 2017 World Happiness Report. It's #17 -- not bad considering there are 155 countries on the list.

Above, Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans, left, and Joris De Loore celebrate after winning a set during a Davis Cup World Group playoffs doubles match against Brazil's Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo at Sleuyter Arena in Ostend, Belgium, on Sept. 17, 2016.


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