Move over Denmark, Norway is now world's happiest country

Carla Harmon
March 20, 2017

Norway is the happiest country in the world, according to a report by the United Nations.

Norway topped the polls, followed by last year's number one country Denmark.

Improving happiness in the US would be much easier to do through social change, the report found. Income in the United States has gone up over the past decade, but happiness is declining.

"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".

"It's the human things that matter".


Chances are, if you live in the USA, you feel worse today than you did 10 years ago. Laos and Brunei were not included in the survey.

Norway's leap to the top was something of a surprise, as it had finished in fourth place for the previous two years.

Iceland, Switzerland and Finland were also ranked in the top five. "I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction".

"What works in the Nordic countries is a sense of community and understanding in the common good", Meik Wiking, chief executive of the Happiness Institute in Copenhagen, said.

Top-ranked countries by average levels of happiness from 2014-16.


The U.S.'s happiness has slipped over the past year, however, the report suggests. On the other end of the spectrum are the following countries; South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Central African Republic. "The report cited "the remarkable resilience" of citizens of African countries". The country which fell farthest is Venezuela.

It surveys countries based on income, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.

In the case of Thailand, social support made up the largest part of the total score, followed by GDP per capita. Nicaragua and Latvia increased the most.

Mr Sachs said the USA is falling in the ranking due to inequality, distrust and corruption. And our government is becoming more and more corrupt.

"America's crisis is, in short, a social crisis", Sachs wrote. "It's a long-term trend and conditions are getting worse". Or, to offset what Americans see as a loss of social support since 2006, GDP would have to rise to $82,000.


"There is deep misery in the heartland", Graham, author of the book "The Pursuit of Happiness", wrote in an email. He rated his personal happiness a 9 on a 1-to- 10 scale.

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