A chilly climate isn’t keeping Norway from basking in the glow of being named the world’s happiest country on Monday.
It surged from fourth place in last year’s UN assessment all the way to the top spot, according to the World Happiness Report 2017. Other top countries on the list included Nordic neighbours Denmark and Iceland, as well as nearby Switzerland.
“All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance,” the summary explained.
Rounding out the top 10 were Finland, in fifth place, the Netherlands (6), Canada (7), New Zealand (8), and Australia and Sweden tied for 9th.
The entire top 10 were affluent, developed nations, although money is not the only ingredient for happiness, the report said.
In fact, among the wealthier countries the differences in happiness levels had a lot to do with “differences in mental health, physical health and personal relationships: the biggest single source of misery is mental illness”, the report said.
Another major country, China, has made major economic strides in recent years. But its people are not happier than 25 years ago, the report found. China ranked 79th in the study of 155 countries.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg welcomed the report as “a nice validation on a Monday morning”.
The World Happiness Report 2017 was released by the United Nations on the International Day of Happiness. It is the fifth such report since the first was published in 2012.