Norway Displaces Denmark as World’s Happiest Country, U.S. Is No. 14

Happy Norwegians at the Oslo Central Station

By Jesse Sokolow on 21 March 2017
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In search of happiness? Consider moving to Norway, the world’s happiest country.

After placing fourth last year (Denmark was first), Norway, followed closely by Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden, proved that those in search of happiness might consider moving to a European country with a cool climate.

The authors of the 2017 World Happiness Report explained that Norway is a happy place not because of its oil wealth but in spite of it: the country uses its wealth to invest in the future.

If these countries don’t meet your needs, consider Finland, which came in fifth place, followed by the Netherlands, Canada, and New Zealand, while Australia and Sweden tied for ninth place. The United States placed 14th.

On the other hand, if you are searching for happiness, avoid China, number 79 on the list, where the happiness quotient has dropped due to rising unemployment and “fraying social safety nets,” as well as much of Africa, where lives are “often marked by delayed and disappointed hopes.”

If, however, you are content without happiness in your life, top countries on your list should include Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Syria.

The World Happiness Report was prepared by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an international panel of economists, psychologists, and public health experts convened by the United Nations. The first World Happiness Report, the creation of which was approved unanimously by the U.N. General Council in 2012, was released in 2012, ahead of the International Day of Happiness, also known as Happiness Day, which falls on March 20.

The ranking was derived from a global poll conducted by Gallup each year that included a question known as the Cantril Ladder: “Please imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. 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?”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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