Washington: Norway is the World's Happiest Country on Earth, followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, an annual ranking of 155 countries published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a United Nations initiative.
"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", the report said.
"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", it added.
"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", the report said.
Stating that people in China are no happier than 25 years ago, the report said, "It contrasts the sharply growing per capita income in China over the past 25 years with life evaluations that fell steadily from 1990 till about 2005, recovering since then to about the 1990 levels. They attribute the dropping happiness in the first part of the period to rising unemployment and fraying social safety nets, with recoveries since in both."
The first World Happiness Report was published in April, 2012, in support of the UN High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being.
In February 2017, the United Arab Emirates held a full-day World Happiness meeting, as part of the World Government Summit.