The rigors of the cold do not prevent Norway from enjoying the heat of being the happiest country in the world, according to a UN report released on Monday.
The country rose to the top of the table from its fourth place last year, notes the 2017 World Happiness Report, which aims to integrate welfare into statistics.
The top four on the list include its Nordic neighbors Denmark and Iceland, and Switzerland.
The first four countries reach high positions in the main factors considered to support happiness: care, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance,”
explains the report.
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg hailed the report as “a nice confirmation for a Monday morning.”
The Prime Minister added that even if they now lead the statistics, they will continue to prioritize mental health care, improving the monitoring of children and young people because many are still struggling.
According to the list, the first 20 happiest countries in the world are: Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Holland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Israel, Costa Rica, Austria, the U.S, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, United Kingdom and Chile.
The first 10 positions are held by rich and developed countries, although money is not the only ingredient for happiness.
In fact, among the richest countries the differences between the respective levels of happiness had a lot to do with mental health, physical health and personal relationships. The greatest source of unhappiness is mental illness.
The differences in income have greater weight in the poorest countries, but mental illness is also a source of unhappiness,”
notes the report.
In China, which has made great economic progress in recent years, people are no happier now than 25 years ago, according to the report. The Asian giant is ranked 79 among the 155 countries studied.
The United States fell from 13th to 14th place due to its lesser social support and greater corruption, the same factors that explain why the Nordic countries are rather better placed on the scale of happiness.
While political discourse in the United States focuses on economic growth, the level of satisfaction of Americans on the welfare scale has not increased since the 1960s.
In addition, the last 10 countries showed greater variations.
Countries affected by wars and catastrophes are located in the last places of the scale. Syria is in place 152. Tanzania and Burundi follow, while the Central African Republic closes the list.
Since then (2012) we have come a long way. Happiness is increasingly regarded as the best yardstick for measuring social progress and the goal of public policy,”
quotes the text.
The methodology for measuring happiness consists of a survey of 1,000 people in each country, who answer a series of questions about the perception of their quality of life.