Norway overtook their neighbors Denmark as the happiest country in the world, as declared by the World Happiness Report 2017 released on Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
The SDSN releases stats and reports to urge nations to focus on building social trust and equality in their countries and is a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012.
As with the report that came in last year, sub-Saharan Africa along with Syria and Yemen are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked. Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, spoke on the report,
“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government. 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.”
The top ten happiest nations included Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden.
Regrettably, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic came in last on the list of 155 countries.
Germany ranked at 16, followed by the United Kingdom (19) and France (31). The United States dropped its last year’s 13th spot and came on 14th place.
Sachs pinned the drop of the United States to the election and the consequential inequality, racism, distrust and corruption scandals coming in view. He also blamed the economic measures of the Trump administration, saying,
“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.”
The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and absence of corruption in government or business.
“The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables,” said the report, produced with the support of the Ernesto Illy Foundation.
Sachs also pointed out how the countries that are ranking better in the list, such as the United Arab Emirates, have appointed Ministers of Happiness.
“I want governments to measure this, discuss it, analyze it and understand when they have been off on the wrong direction,” he said.
You can check out the full report here.