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Norway unseats Denmark as world’s happiest country

Updated Mar 21, 2017 09:07am


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Erik Hagen poses for a picture in Oslo, Norway March 20.—Reuters
Erik Hagen poses for a picture in Oslo, Norway March 20.—Reuters

NEW YORK: Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s happiest country in a new report released on Monday that called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the well-being of their citizens.

The Nordic nations are the most content, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released at the United Nations.

“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,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General, said in an interview.

The aim of the report, he added, is to provide another tool for governments, business and civil society to help their countries find a better way to well-being.

Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top 10 countries.

South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic were at the bottom.

Germany was ranked 16, followed by the United Kingdom (19) and France (31). The United States dropped one spot to 14.

Sachs said the United States is falling in the ranking due to inequality, distrust and corruption. Economic measures that the administration of President Donald Trump is trying to pursue, he added, will make things worse.

“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,” he explained.

The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support 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 would like nations to follow United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness. “I want governments to measure this, discuss it, analyse it and understand when they have been off on the wrong direction,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2017


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Comments (16) Closed

M. Emad Mar 21, 2017 07:40am

High suicide rate in Nordic countries.

M. Emad Mar 21, 2017 07:45am

Suicide Rate (per 100,000/year, 2012, WHO): Pakistan-9.3, Bangladesh-7.8.

Sohail Wazir Mar 21, 2017 09:30am

How come USA ranked at 14. The report looks like biased and misinformed. USA has the most depressive and jobless people in the world.

Sohail Wazir Mar 21, 2017 09:35am

@M. Emad sorry but your provided data is wrong. Suicide ratio of Pakistan is less than what's you mentioned. India is above in this regard in asia.

saudagar Mar 21, 2017 09:41am

according to happiness index pakistan and bangladesh are much much better than india ! REASON ? quite simple CONgress , AAP, SP,BSP,LEFTS all are sooo unhappy with recent poll results !

saudagar Mar 21, 2017 09:50am

@Sohail Wazir yes india has high suicidal rates because congress andAAP and their contestants keep losing polls .deposits and eventually life !

PTI SUPPORTER Mar 21, 2017 09:49am

India ranks a low 122 among world’s happiest countries out of 155 countries; Pakistan, Nepal fare better.

Nations such as China (79), Pakistan (80), Nepal (99), Bangladesh (110), Iraq (117) and Sri Lanka (120) fared better than India on the ranking.

India ranked a lowly 122 on a list of the world’s happiest countries, dropping four slots from last year and coming behind China, Pakistan and Nepal. Norway ranks as the happiest country in the world, according to The World Happiness Report 2017,

AhMAd Mar 21, 2017 10:02am

@Sohail Wazir Actually, this report is not based on actual happiness but only on following factors "per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business."

People who created this report doesn't know that a person with less income can be happier than one with lot of money.

NOMANSLAND Mar 21, 2017 10:12am

@saudagar So does that mean India has dropped from 118 to 122 rank in the Happiness index because of the ruling BJP ?!

dr.arshad Mar 21, 2017 10:30am

@M. Emad .....Good point. But the report talks about only the living mortals residing in these countries. They make hey while the sun shines!

INDIAN Mar 21, 2017 10:55am


SAJAN Mar 21, 2017 11:45am

We will not smile or pretend happier until India will become super power !!!

Nirman Mar 21, 2017 11:59am

How can happiness be measured? LOL

Kaspar Mar 21, 2017 02:20pm

All such exercises are superfluous carry no meaning. Happiness is something personal, associated with personal sense of well being. You can have happy or unhappy people, no happy or unhappy countries. calling countries happy or unhappy has no meaning. Happiness is also unquantifiable as done in the report.

N.S Mar 21, 2017 03:17pm

Pakistan has more happiness because of 1) More generosity, ranks very high. 2) Least racist nation, can be checked on Google search, India is most racist. 3) Less hatred for neighbors as hatred consumes the person who harbors it.

Also the general living standard like they live in better appointed large homes compared to India and Bangladesh. More food security, Pakistanis love food and eating out. Check this out

Alba Mar 21, 2017 05:12pm

Denmark probably produces more food than their people can possible eat, and is the most liberal country in Scandinavia. Norway is now the richest country in Scandinavia per capita. Money can't by you love, but it can buy you happiness.