The word “happiness” is not used lightly. Happiness is an aspiration of every human being, and can also be a measure of social progress. America’s founding fathers declared the inalienable right to pursue happiness. Yet are Americans, or citizens of other countries, happy? If they are not, what if anything can be done about it?
There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their lives. More and more world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and British Prime Minister David Cameron, are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. We offer the 2013 World Happiness Report in support of these efforts to bring the study of happiness into public awareness and public policy. This report offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us much about ways to improve the world’s wellbeing and sustainable development.