The good news should make it easier to cope with the harsh climate. Norway is officially the happiest country in the world, according to a very official UN report released on Monday.
Norway, 4th last year, takes first place in Denmark (2nd), followed by Iceland and Switzerland, according to the World Happiness Report 2017, whose publication coincides with the World Day of Happiness By the UN and celebrated on 20 March.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg praised “a good validation on a Monday morning”.
“Even though we are now at the top of the ranking, we continue to prioritize care for mental illness, to improve the tracking of children and youth because many are still in trouble,” she said.
Finland (5th), the Netherlands (6th), Canada (7th), New Zealand (8th), Australia and Sweden tied for 9th, complete the ranking of the ten countries where the inhabitants Say the happiest.
The objective of this annual report on happiness is to reflect the welfare of populations beyond economic indicators and to integrate this criterion into public statistics.
Mental health, good governance
Even if the leading countries are all developed and rich, the report stresses that money is not the only ingredient in the recipe for happiness.
The World Happiness Report lists “compassion, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, social safety nets and good governance” as the basic criteria for promoting happiness.
The methodology used consists of asking a sample of about 1,000 people to answer a series of questions on the perception of their quality of life on a scale of 1 to 10.
Among the richest countries, differences in the level of happiness have much to do with “differences in mental health, physical health and personal relationships: the greatest source of misery is mental illness,” the report said.
“Differences in income are more important in poor countries, but even their mental illness is a major source of misery,” the authors add.
The United States is sliding from 13th to 14th place, due in part to lower levels of social support, low trust in government institutions and rising perceived corruption.
While political discourse in the United States focuses on economic growth, the level of satisfaction of Americans on the scale of happiness has not progressed since the 1960s, notes the report.
Another major country, China (79th), has made significant economic progress in recent years. But its people are not happier than they were 25 years ago, also the World Happiness Report.
France is lagging behind the developed countries, progressing slightly in this new ranking from 32nd to 31st.
Not surprisingly, countries affected by wars and disasters are at the bottom of rankings. Syria ranks 152th in the ranking of 155 countries closed by the Central African Republic.