The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is the latest institution to jump into the happiness-rating business with its new Better Life Initiative, a detailed survey of 24 indicators in 11 categories--ranging from civic engagement to environmental quality--across its 34 member states plus Brazil and Russia.
When all of the categories are weighted equally, the top-performing country in the world is Australia, cited for its strong community spirit and high level of life satisfaction. The lowest-ranked country among those studied was Turkey, whose weak scores on the same two criteria dragged it below Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. The US placed 3rd after Norway.
The OECD emphasizes on its Better Life Initiative web site that the rankings aren't absolute: By changing weightings on the criteria--say, to emphasize education or housing--users can alter the overall country scores according to their areas of interest.
Read more: World's Happiest Countries: Australia Tops OECD Better Life Index - Bloomberg