The world's happiest place to live revealed, and it's not the UK

It's official: if you're searching for a life filled with joy you won't find it in the UK.

Australia, with its laid back residents, endless sunshine and beautiful beaches, has topped the OECD happiness league of countries for the third year in a row, beating the UK into a dismal tenth place.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
It isn't surprising then that 49,000 emigrated to the land Down Under in 2011 alone.

Sweden narrowly missed out on first place while Canada notched up a respectable third, the US in sixth place and the rest of the Scandinavian countries with Denmark, the Netherlands and Iceland finishing off the top ten.

International League Table of Happiness
  1. Australia
  2. Sweden
  3. Canada
  4. Norway
  5. Switzerland
  6. United States
  7. Denmark
  8. Netherlands
  9. Iceland
  10. UK
Source: OECD

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While residents of the UK might not be able to compete with the sunny dispositions or quality of life of their Australian counterparts, the survey showed that Britons were happier than many of their European neighbours, Ireland (15th), Germany (17th) and France (18th).

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD's Better Life Index is based on 11 categories, including income, jobs, safety and health, and surveys 36 nations (members of the OECD along with Brazil and Russia).

Britain came out well in studies on income levels with high employment, low crime and also high levels of community spirit, measured by polls that discovered that almost everyone in the UK knew a person that they could rely on in times of trouble.

It didn't do badly on environmental issues either, coming out well in studies based on lower air pollution and water quality.

The UK lost marks on issues of overcrowding, a selective school system which, according to the OECD "favours the rich over the poor" and because they believe that state spending and benefit cuts "will affect many families."

The report also said: "Progress in child poverty reduction in the UK has stalled; social protection spending on families needs to be protected.

"Providing services such as affordable and good quality local day-care centres, with flexible opening hours, is key to helping families with children on low incomes into work."

If the survey was based on happiness levels alone then the UK would have fared even worse as according to the Daily Mail, in surveys recently introduced on life satisfaction by David Cameron, British citizens rated themselves at a rather low 6.8 out of 10.

The Australians, however, scored 7.2, well above the OECD average of 6.6.

It turns out that the French proved even less happy than the UK, giving themselves just 6.6 out of 10 with the OECD blaming France's low ranking on high unemployment and poor education for some of its people.

Eurozone countries also suffered overall with those struggling with debt and high unemployment being reflected by their ranking in the index leaving France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece in the bottom half of the table.

If you can't afford to emigrate to Australia there might be a silver lining to the UK's poor placement in the league.

Last year the top five happiest places to live in the UK were revealed with Eilean Siar, Orkney and the Shetland Islands coming out on top, closely followed by Rutland and Anglesey.

If these remote areas seem surprising winners in the happiness stakes, the survey was based on areas with low unemployment, affordable housing and close-knit communities, meaning these relatively tiny towns scored highly for quality of life.

In March 2013 a survery by property website Rightmove claimed that the happiest place to live in the UK is Harrogate in North Yorkshire. See the full list of the UK's happiest towns here.

What do you think? Would you rate Britain higher or lower than the OECD?

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