Happiness report: Norway is the happiest place on Earth

Happiness report: Norway is the happiest place on Earth

Norway is the happiest place on Earth, according to a United Nations agency report - toppling neighbour Denmark from the number one position.

The World Happiness Report measures "subjective well-being" - how happy the people are, and why.

Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and and Finland round out the top five, while the Central African Republic came last.

Western Europe and North America dominated the top of table, with the US and UK at 14th and 19th, respectively.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa and those hit by conflict have predictably low scores. Syria placed 152 of 155 countries - Yemen and South Sudan, which are facing impending famine, came in at 146 and 147.


The World Happiness Report was released to coincide with the United Nations' International Day of Happiness on 20 March.


The world's happiest - and saddest - countries
Happiest
Least happy
1. Norway
146. Yemen
2. Denmark
147. South Sudan
3. Iceland
148. Liberia
4. Switzerland
149. Guinea
5. Finland
150. Togo
6. Netherlands
151. Rwanda
7. Canada
152. Syria
8. New Zealand
153. Tanzania
9. Australia
154. Burundi
10. Sweden
155. Central African Republic

It mainly relies on asking a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people every year in more than 150 countries.

"Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top," the question asks.

"The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?"

The average result is the country's score - ranging from Norway's 7.54 to the Central African Republic's 2.69. But the report also tries to analyse statistics to explain why one country is happier than another.

It looks at factors including economic strength (measured in GDP per capita), social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption.

This year's report also contains a chapter titled "restoring American happiness", which examines why happiness levels in the United States are falling, despite constantly-increasing economic improvement.

"The United States can and should raise happiness by addressing America's multi-faceted social crisis - rising inequality, corruption, isolation, and distrust - rather than focusing exclusively or even mainly on economic growth," the authors said.

"America's crisis is, in short, a social crisis, not an economic crisis."

Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which published the report, said President Donald Trump's policies were likely to make things worse.

"They are all aimed at increasing inequality - tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the healthcare rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction," he told Reuters.

The report also suggests that professional "white collar" jobs are associated with improved happiness over "blue collar" roles - but that having a job at all is one of the biggest factors.

And while "those in well-paying jobs are happier and more satisfied with their lives", that effect has diminishing returns - "an extra $100 of salary is worth much more to someone at the lower end of the income distribution than someone already earning much more."

The report has been published for the past five years, during which the Nordic countries have consistently dominated the top spots.

The clear dominance of those countries - and Denmark in particular - has encouraged other nations to adopt the Danish concept of "Hygge" - a cultural concept of cosiness and relaxation.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
General election 2017: Labour promises pay rises for NHS staff

General election 2017: Labour promises pay rises for NHS staff..

25-Apr, 20:08

NHS staff will get higher pay and there will be no tuition fees for...

Judge blocks Trump 'sanctuary city' funding threat order

Judge blocks Trump 'sanctuary city' funding threat order..

25-Apr, 17:32

A US judge on Tuesday blocked President Donald Trump's executive order...

Jet set pets

Jet set pets..

26-Apr, 08:08

Earlier this year, 80 falcons boarded a flight to Saudi Arabia....

Lump sum or annuity payments? It's no easy decision

Lump sum or annuity payments? It's no easy decision..

26-Apr, 07:24

As a general rule, people in good health and those with high family...

Tillerson meets with Putin amid tensions over Syria

Tillerson meets with Putin amid tensions over Syria..

12-Apr, 13:56

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian President Vladimir...

The Lord Of The Thumb Episode 218

The Lord Of The Thumb Episode 218..

08-Mar, 00:02

The following The Lord Of The Thumb Episode 218 English Sub has been...

Spicer says Trump has not spoken to FBI director about wiretapping claims

Spicer says Trump has not spoken to FBI director about wiretapping claims..

07-Mar, 14:24

White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed that President Donald...

Neverland Ranch, now Sycamore Valley Ranch, is re-listed for $67 million

Neverland Ranch, now Sycamore Valley Ranch, is re-listed for $67 million..

01-Mar, 21:14

Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, now known as Sycamore Valley Ranch,...