Norway is the happiest place on the planet, says report


Norway is found to be the happiest place on Earth, according to a United Nations agency report.

The World Happiness Report says “subjective well-being” means how happy the people are and why. Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland have occupied top five positions, while the Central African Republic came last.

Western Europe and North America have also occupied the top position on the table. The US and UK ranked 14th and 19th on the list respectively.

The World Happiness Report was released to coexist with the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness on 20 March.

It report mainly depends on asking a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people every year across 150 countries.

“Consider a ladder, with steps labeled from 0 which is the bottom to 10 which indicates top position,” the question asks.

“The top of the ladder symbolizes the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder symbolizes the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would stand at this time?”

The average of this results represents the country’s score. In the case of Norway the score was 7.54 and for the Central African Republic, the score was 2.69. But the report also tries to study statistics to evaluate why one country is happier than another.

It also considers the factors like economic strength (measured in GDP per capita), social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity and perceived corruption.

‘America’s crisis’

The report released this year also includes a chapter named “restoring American happiness”, which determines why happiness levels in the United States are decreasing, despite a constant rise in the economic improvement.

“The United States should increase the happiness levels by overcoming America’s multi-faceted social crisis such as growing inequality, corruption, isolation and distrust instead of focussing only on the economic growth,” the authors said.

“America’s crisis is basically the social crisis, not an economic crisis.”

The report also reveals that professional “white collar” jobs are linked with improved happiness over “blue collar” jobs, but amongst all having a job is the biggest factor.

And while “those in having a well-paid jobs are happier and more contented with their lives”, that effect has diminishing returns – “an additional $100 of salary is worth to someone at the lower end of the income distribution than someone already earning quite enough.”