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February 10, 2018 - The Vegan Authority

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U.N. Happiness Report, Norway tops the list

U.N. Happiness Report, Norway tops the list
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Norway has jumped from 4th place in 2016 to 1st place this year, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch. 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. Their averages are so close that small changes can reorder the rankings from year to year.

Norway moves to the top of the ranking despite weaker oil prices. It is sometimes said that Norway achieves and maintains its high happiness not because of its oil wealth, but in spite of it. By choosing to produce its oil slowly, and investing the proceeds for the future rather than spending them in the present, Norway has insulated itself from the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies. To do this successfully requires high levels of mutual trust, shared purpose, generosity and good governance, all factors that help to keep Norway and other top countries where they are in the happiness rankings. 

All of the other countries in the top ten also have high values in all six of the key variables used to explain happiness differences among countries and through time--income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust, with the latter measured by the absence of corruption in business and government. Here too there has been some shuffling of ranks among closely grouped countries, with this year's rankings placing Finland in 5th place, followed by the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia and Sweden tied for the 9th position, having the same 2014-2016 score to three decimals. 

The top ten countries: 1. Norway, 2. Denmark, 3. Iceland, 4. Switzerland, 5. Finland, 6. Netherlands, 7. Canada, 8. New Zealand, 9. Australia, 10. Sweden.

Read the entire report, which includes downloadable data, at the World Happiness Report website.


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