Writer Dan Buettner explores four places in the world that have been identified as the happiest in the world, in the National Geographic book Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zone Way. Denmark, Singapore, Mexico and San Luis Obispo, California have all been identified by researches as being some of the happiest places in the world and in his book, Buettner investigates why.

Buettner attributes happiness through a number of factors. Satisfaction to walkable or bikeable cities, recreation, high-quality parks and public services such as universal healthcare and free education. Denmark is one country that has free education and healthcare for all.


In Denmark, Danes slow down and enjoy life with an average of six weeks vacation a year and 37-hour work week. This allows them to enjoy thing such as art and music in their free time which adds to an overall life satisfaction. Standards of living in Denmark are high. Transportation is reliable, many people own summer houses on the beach because of the abundance of beaches in the country, there are lots of places to ride bikes through its cities and the country is home to Copehnagen, a laid back metropolis known for some of the best restaurants and cafes in the world.

San Luis Obispo, California

Northern California is eponymous with sweeping landscapes--rocky cliffs overlooking deep blue oceans and tall redwoods looking down upon miles of rugged wilderness. The city of San Luis Obispo is surrounded by natural beauty and a housing growth that is limited to 1 percent each year. With policies and money raised to purchase green spaces nearby, San Luis Obispo has great access to outdoor recreation including biking, hiking and lots of parks.


The city-state of 5.1 million people is the happiest country in Asia, according to researchers. Buettner believes what makes the country so happy is the security and economic growth as primary forces. There are also strong family ties and a trust between different religions and cultural traditions. The city-state is known for promoting public programs from movies on the beach to promote love and litter prevention campaigns. Though the country is also known for its strict laws, the citizens have accepted this and assimilated to the climate of the culture in exchange for stability and safety.


Research shows that Mexicans, especially in Motterrey, have an exceptional rate of happiness. During his research, Buettner found strong ties to friends and family and strong faith in the church. Though the country has rampant crime, assasinations and kidnappings, Mexicans maintain an overall ability to laugh and stay happy.