About Happiness Hotspots

Science shows that where we live—not education, marital status, or wealth—is the biggest controllable factor that determines our happiness. But the happiest places to live may not be the ones that come immediately to mind.


Working with Gallup, the World Values Survey, and the World Database of Happiness, Dan Buettner and his team found the three demographically proven pockets around the world where people report the highest levels of well-being—or happiness. Then, on assignment for National Geographic, he researched these hot spots and distilled the common denominators in each, enabling you to create your own “happy zone.”


Detailing extraordinary new discoveries and meticulous research on four continents, Buettner observes happiness in unlikely places and gleans surprising insight into what generates contentment and what it means to “thrive.” Intriguing studies debunk commonly held myths, and you’ll learn how factors like marriage, parenthood, gender equality, and sociability figure into the happiness equation.


Finding Happiness

  • Photo: Dan Buettner

    Thrive Challenge

    Are you happy? Take the True Happiness™ Test, then follow Thrive author Dan Buettner’s daily video tips about simple things you can do right now to be happier. When you’re ready, take the test again to see if your True Happiness Grade has improved.

  • Photo: Bikers ride through wildflowers in San Luis Obispo County

    True Happiness Test

    How happy are you? Find out in this test that measures two different types of happiness: remembered happiness and experienced happiness.

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