The numbers are in for the World Happiness Report 2017; who wins this year's crown of contentment? Think of it as a love letter to Scandinavia.
While at first it might sound like yet another faux “holiday” created by some banal marketing department somewhere, International Day of Happiness is actually the real deal. Founded in 2012 by the United Nations, the day is dedicated to recognizing the importance of global happiness. How novel! The International Day of Happiness Resolution 66/281 declares the pursuit of happiness as a human right and a "fundamental human goal." In support of happiness, in 2015 the UN launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals that seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.
Which brings us to the World Happiness Report, which has been released annually since 2012. Published in support of the International Day of Happiness, the aim of the authors of this meticulously researched 201-page report is to create a tool that can be used in forming positive public policy.
The report relies on six factors: GDP per capita; healthy
years of life expectancy; social support (as measured by having someone to count on in times
of trouble); trust (as measured by a perceived
absence of corruption in government and
business); perceived freedom to make life
decisions; and generosity (as measured by recent donations). The data was collected from surveys of people – and how they evaluate their lives on a scale running from 0 to 10 – in 156 countries.
This year's top 10 are the same as determined in last year's report, but there have been some position swaps. Last year’s number one, Denmark, has slipped into second while Norway has jumped up three places into
first position, though the difference amongst the frontrunners are miniscule. The United States went from number 13 last year to 14 this year.
1. Norway (7.537)
2. Denmark (7.522)
3. Iceland (7.504)
4. Switzerland (7.494)