People are a happy bunch. We all know it; their positive approach to life is legendary and shines through in their behaviors and the attitudes they express to the world around them.

At Comedy Central, Happiness is very important, and we have embarked on a project to explore Happiness, Laughter, their relationship and their impact on other factors in people’s emotional and physical state.

But before we start talking about all those things, we wanted to take a look at The Happiest Countries in the World – so here we go! We researched 32 countries across all five continents, and what we found is an indication of just how important happiness is in their world, what it means to people and what drives this.

Globally, 94% of 12-30 year olds agree that it is a right of all people to be happy; and on this measure there is very little fluctuation by country. At the very top end are Argentina, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa, all on 98%; and at the bottom, Japan and Morocco with 88% – a difference which is barely significant.

Over three quarters of them (78%) agree “I won’t settle for anything less than what makes me happy”. We see very little difference by age or gender, but in this case there is slightly greater fluctuation by country.

So while the 12-30 year olds universally hold true to the principle of the right to happiness, it’s not globally the case that they take happiness for granted in their own life.

Having said this, the world is a very happy place: 73% categorize themselves as very happy (compared to only 34% who record high stress levels).

At the time of fieldwork, those countries with highest happiness levels (particularly in Latin America and Nigeria) were largely experiencing a period of economic growth; while those at the bottom end of the scale were facing either financial or social uncertainly.

Some countries show a slight dislocation between actual levels of happiness and a reluctance to settle for anything less than what makes me happy – for example, happiness in South Africa is a touch lower than average and in Morocco is much lower than average, despite their relatively high belief in the importance of happiness in their own lives; one cannot help wondering if this dislocation may in time escalate into deeper frustration.

So what lies behind this happiness?

By and large, the answer is simple and universal: time spent in the company of the people they love best, whether friends or family. Spending time with friends and with family are among the top two responses in most parts of the world. In fact, from the 32 countries, only five (China, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia) do not have one of these responses in their top two.

Being successful is highly important as a driver of happiness not only for these five countries but also in general; globally it ranks #3 on the overall list of all sources of happiness. Our findings also demonstrate the close link perceived by Millennials between happiness and success by showing that happiness is universally the #1 sign of success. 72% of all 12-30 year olds name happiness as one of the top three signs of success – considerably higher than being rich (36%) or looking good (8%).

Apart from time with family and friends and being successful, there are a handful of happiness drivers which are particularly relevant for some individual countries:

Having a job: Greece

Having a boyfriend/girlfriend: Germany, Hungary, Italy

Going away on holiday: Netherlands

Having lots of time for fun/relaxation: Japan, Sweden

It is clear that Millennials around the world value their happiness deeply and will fight to maintain it; and given the emphasis they place on friends and family over material success as a driver of their happiness, combined with the general positivity with which they face life, it looks like they have a good chance of achieving it!

Source: VIMN Research & Insights; All data based on 12-30 year olds