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Despite the anxieties of these times, happiness has been on the rise around the world in recent years, a new survey finds.
The upbeat outlook is attributed to economic growth in previously poor countries, democratization of others, and rising social tolerance for women and minority groups.
"It's a surprising finding," said University of Michigan political scientist Ronald Inglehart, who headed up the survey. "It's widely believed that it's almost impossible to raise an entire country's happiness level."
Denmark is the happiest nation and Zimbabwe the the most glum, he found. (Zimbabwe's longtime ruler Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president for a sixth term Sunday after a widely discredited runoff in which he was the only candidate. Observers said the runoff was marred by violence and intimidation.)
The United States ranks 16th.