The survey is a worldwide investigation of sociocultural and political change conducted about every four years by an international network of social scientists. It includes questions about how happy people are and how satisfied they are with their lives.
It showed that average happiness has remained virtually the same in industrialized countries since World War II, although incomes have risen.
The analysis of levels of happiness in more than 65 countries by the World Values Survey shows Nigeria has the highest percentage of happy people followed by Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador and Puerto Rico, while Russia, Armenia and Romania have the fewest.
"New Zealand ranked 15 for overall satisfaction, the U.S. 16th, Australia 20th and Britain 24th -- though Australia beats the other three for day-to-day happiness," said New Scientist magazine, which published the results in this week's issue.
But different factors were said to make people happy for example , Personal success, self-expression, pride, and a high sense of self-esteem are important in the United States.
In Japan, on the other hand, it comes from fulfilling the expectations of your family, meeting your social responsibilities, self-discipline, cooperation and friendliness.
The exception is Denmark, where people have become more satisfied with life over the last three decades.
Researchers believe the unchanging trend is linked to consumerism.
Survey after survey has shown that the desire for material goods, which has increased hand in hand with average income, is a happiness suppressant.