The Gallup surveys involved face-to-face and telephone interviews of about 1,000 adults per country, age 15 and older, in 2011. Gallup classifies respondents as thriving, struggling, or suffering based on how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10.
People were considered thriving if they rate their current lives a 7 or higher and their lives in five years an 8 or higher, Gallup officials said.
Majorities of residents in 17 countries rated their lives well enough to be classified as thriving, with Denmark far ahead of the 66 percent thriving in Canada and the Netherlands.
The United States just missed making the Top 10, with 56 percent of Americans saying they were thriving.
Well-being was generally lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, where the median thriving percentage was 12 percent but 29 percent in Ghana and 35 percent in Angola said they were thriving.
A median of 20 percent in the Middle East and North Africa said they were thriving -- similar to what Gallup measured before the Arab Spring. Sixty-five percent said they were thriving in Israel -- the highest score in the region -- followed by 58 percent in United Arab Emirates and 51 percent in Oman. Fewer than one in 10 said they were thriving in Egypt and 8 percent in Yemen.
The margin of error for each country ranged from 1.7 percentage points to 5.7 percentage points.