Happiest, Unhappiest Countries in the World: Scandinavians Top the List, US Becomes Sadder
Feeling a little down in the dumps? A trip to some of the happiest countries on Earth just might do the trick.
As the International Day of Happiness rolls around, the annual World Happiness Report is released by the United Nations with Norway topping the list followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.
While Norway jumped to first place, eclipsing Denmark, the report stressed that the results of the top four countries are so close that they're not statistically significant. Rounding out the top 10 -- which remains the same as last year's -- are Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.
Meanwhile, the unhappiest country on record is the Central African Republic followed by Burundi, Tanzania, Syria, Rwanda, Togo, Guinea, Liberia, South Sudan and Yemen.
Six key factors proved to be significant in the results: GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support, trust, perceived freedom to make life decisions and generosity. All 10 of the countries that topped the annual world happiness list ranked highly on these variables.
"The Scandinavian countries are very big on social support," Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, one of the study's associate editors, explained the consistency of Scandinavian countries on top of the list in a report from TIME. "The top countries, you can see, have societies which are not at each others throats. But also they have high GDP per capita."
Meanwhile, the U.S. dropped a spot from last year, ranking at 14th place in 2017. In a chapter entitled Restoring American Happiness, Jeffrey D. Sachs explained how the country is in the midst of a social crisis, not an economic one. Out of the six key variables, the U.S. deteriorated in four social variables: social support, personal freedom, generosity and trust.
This is the fifth annual World Happiness Report, the first one was released in 2012 in an effort to emphasize how happiness is increasingly being "considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy."