In his book Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, Dan Buettner explores four places identified by researchers as world leaders in happiness—pockets around the globe where people report more happiness, enjoyment, interest, and respect. Take a tour of these happiness hot spots (Denmark, Singapore, Mexico, and San Luis Obispo, California) in this photo gallery, and discover some of the secrets of thrivers.
A woman rides a bicycle on one of Copenhagen’s wide, double bike lanes. According to the World Database of Happiness, Denmark is the second happiest country in the world (behind Costa Rica). Thrive author Dan Buettner attributes part of this satisfaction to walkable, bikeable cities. Recreation, including high-quality parks, is accessible to everyone. Though Denmark’s marginal tax rate is high, surveys show Danes tolerate it for the payoff: public services that include health care for all and free education. Danes also benefit from trust in their public officials, as well in their neighbors, with whom they share a sense of equality about social status.
—Text adapted from the National Geographic book Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way