Norway is world’s happiest country

Norway has been named the world’s happiest nation by the 2017 World Happiness Report.

The report, which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels, revealed that oil-rich Norway climbed three places to claim top spot, despite a significant fall in oil prices over the past year. The report noted that this outcome illustrates that high happiness depends on more than just income.

“By choosing to produce oil deliberately and investing the proceeds for the benefit of future generations, Norway has protected itself from the volatile ups and downs of many other oil-rich economies,” said Professor John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia. “This emphasis on the future over the present is made easier by high levels of mutual trust, shared purpose, generosity and good governance. All of these are found in Norway, as well as in the other top countries.”

Norway takes top spot from fellow Scandinavian country Denmark, which had held the top spot for three out of the past four years. Rounding out the rest of the top ten, in order, are Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden. The United States was ranked in 14th place, while the UK was five places further back in 19th.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa and those hit by conflict performed predictably poorly in the research. The five lowest ranked countries were Rwanda, Syria, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic.

This year the World Happiness Report gave special attention to the social foundations of happiness, including, especially, happiness in the workplace.

The research revealed that happiness differs considerably across employment status, job type, and industry sectors. People in well paid roles are happier, but money is only one predictive measure of happiness — work-life balance, job variety and the level of autonomy, are other significant drivers.

Article published 21st March 2017