Why Norway is the happiest nation on Earth

22 March, 2017, 00:31 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Happy man and woman smiling

The latest World Happiness report by the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network which measures "subjective well-being" shows that Norway has ousted fellow Nordic nation Denmark at the top of the pile.

The touchstone for gauging happiness included per capita income, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

That's despite the United Nations Human Rights office chastising the country past year for "ineffective" measures to reduce homicides, as well as "extrajudicial killings" and "excessive use of force by security officers". Syria was placed at 152 of 155 countries.

But according to the new report, happiness in America has fallen over the years. In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report recommending that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness because it would lead to better policy that affects people's lives.

The U.S. didn't even make the top 10: we came in at 14 out of 155 countries.

He explained that the aim of the report is to provide another tool for governments, business and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing. Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland followed Norway as the top five countries.

Since 2013, the United Nations has been celebrating the International Day of Happiness on March 20 as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world.

Of African countries, SA was rated 7th happiest. While the top 10 nations did not change from previous year, the order of their ranking did switch. A decline in social support is the current crisis America is facing, leading to increased worries and dissatisfaction rate in the country, according to a report.

The overwhelming focus on economic growth in rankings such as the OECD's often leaves out "broad societal matters such as inequality, pollution, political and civil liberties, global relations, and the like, which most individuals have little ability to influence", the study said.

Studying happiness may seem frivolous, but serious academics have always been calling for more testing about people's emotional well-being, especially in the United States.

It may be noted that India is home to more than five crore people who are suffering from depression, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO), even as the country faces acute shortages of medical professionals to treat them. "I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction", said Mr. Sachs, another of the authors.


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