Newsweek
International
 
 
No. 3: Colombia

Robin Farzad/BW

No. 3: Colombia

Population: 45,013,674
Life Expectancy: 73
GDP Per Capita: $6,700

Today it's the world's third happiest country, but "cocaine" and "cartel" are traditionally more easily associated with Colombia than "carefree" and "contented." The change: Surging tourism and economic growth have accompanied the South American country's efforts in recent years to reassert control over its decades-old rebel violence and lucrative drug operations. Even though per capita income is far lower than in the top 10 countries, Colombia's literacy rate is 94%, well above the world average. And the ethnically tolerant country supports thriving coastal communities of Arabs, Jews, Italians, Germans, French, Portuguese, and Roma descendants.