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World Happiness Report: Can You Guess the Happiest Country on Earth?

posted: 03/22/17
by: Blythe Copeland
Restaurant at Bryggen in the city of Bergen, Norway
iStock

Since 2012, The World Happiness Report has tallied up the happiness quotient of people in 155 countries, ranking the results of individuals' self-evaluations to see which countries sport the highest totals. This year's winner: Norway, which jumped up from last year's fourth place ranking to edge out Denmark (which was rated highest in 2016).

The rest of the top 15 include Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Israel, Costa Rica, Austria, the United States, and Ireland.

The analysts who put the report together use surveys from 1,000 people in each country, who evaluate their own happiness based on a 0-10 scale. The report then looks at six different variables in each country -- "GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption" -- to illustrate the differences in responses.

Jeffry Sachs, Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which produced the report, pointed out the larger implications of the effects those variables had on each country's happiness. "The [report] continues to draw global attention around the need to create sound policy for what matters most to people -- their well-being," he said in a press statement. "As demonstrated by many countries, this report gives evidence that happiness is a result of creating strong social foundations. It's time to build social trust and healthy lives, not guns or walls. Let's hold our leaders to this fact."