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A health-wise life expectancy of 70.27 years (years that a person can live in good health), support in the family and from friends and the freedom to make their own decisions ensure that Costa Ricans are the happiest people in Latin America.

So it says in the World Happiness Report 2017, presented yesterday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network in cooperation with the United Nations.

On the American continent, Costa Rica came second behind Canada. Globally, the country rose from 14th to 12th place. The United States fell in at No. 14, down a spot from last year.  

Happiness seems to be native to Northern Europe. With Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland, four Skandinavian countries occupied the top five places in this year's World Happiness Report. Switzerland landed in fourth place.

But are Ticos really the happiest people in Latin America and Norwegians the happiest people in the world?

Hardly. According to Nic Marcs, co-author of the Happy Planet Index (another index that saw Costa Rica in first place last year), these indices show what a country offers its inhabitants so they can live happily. However, according to Marcs, happiness is an individual decision.

„Costa Rica is, according to the index, the happiest country in the world, but it is not a paradise. There is no paradise, there are problems everywhere, and everybody is responsible for his or her happiness. Someone can live in a country like Costa Rica that offers everything to be happy, and yet be unhappy. And someone can live in a country that offers few conditions to live a happy life, and yet be happy".

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