Monday, 20 March 2017

Norway ousts Denmark as world's happiest country – UN report

Nordic countries are most content of 155 ranked by UN, while countries in sub-Saharan Africa are least happy
 Norway has topped the World Happiness Report, with Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland making the top five.

Norway has trumped Denmark as the world’s happiest country in a report that calls on nations to build social trust and equality to improve wellbeing.

According to the World Happiness Report 2017, produced by the United Nations, the Nordic nations are the most content.

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

Germany was ranked 16th, the UK 19th and France 31st. The US dropped one spot to 14th.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, were the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report, released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) at the UN.

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

“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 UN secretary general, said in an interview.

The US had fallen in the ranking due to inequality, distrust and corruption, he said, and economic measures being pursued by the Trump administration would 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,”Sachs said.

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 said he would like nations to follow the example of the United Arab Emirates and other countries which had 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.”


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