You can doubt – is it really possible to measure nation’s happiness? The new report introduced by the United Nations states that nothing is impossible and names Norway as the happiest country in the world.
The World Happiness Report 2017 emphasizes good public services, political stability and enviable gene pool that allowed Norway to take lead having risen in the ranks to surpass Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.
The top 10 also includes the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.
The survey took into account such important factors to support happiness as caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance. The averages of the top four countries are so close that small changes can re-order the rankings from year to year. It is interesting that Norway gained the lead despite weaker oil prices. It is sometimes said that Norway achieves and maintains its high happiness not because of its oil wealth, but in spite of it.
“This report gives evidence that happiness is a result of creating strong social foundations. It’s time to build social trust and healthy lives, not guns or walls. Let’s hold our leaders to this fact,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which produced the report in association with the United Nations.
Norway managed to move from the fourth place last year to the top in the annual rankings, which combine economic, health and polling data on approximately 3,000 respondents in each of more than 150 countries.
Meanwhile, the U.S.’s happiness has fallen from 13th position globally to 14th over the past year despite rising wages, which may indicate the need for a more comprehensive approach from government.
“The predominant political discourse in the United States is aimed at raising economic growth, with the goal of restoring the ‘American dream’ and the happiness that is supposed to accompany it. But the data show conclusively that this is the wrong approach,” said Sachs, in a section of the report entitled “Restoring American Happiness”.
Salary and happiness levels moved the opposite directions – income per person has increased roughly three times since 1960, but measured happiness has dipped over the past decade from 7.5 out of 10 to 6.8 out of 10.
“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, especially since the concrete proposals along these lines would exacerbate rather than ameliorate the deepening social crisis.”
The world’s poorest countries take the ten bottom spots with happiness levels averaging approximately 3 out of ten. The unhappiest countries are Yemen, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Syria, Tanzania, Burundi and Central African Republic.