Norway named world's happiest country; USA ranked 14th

Happy man and woman smiling

Happy man and woman smiling

"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 always been considered one of the best countries in the world in which to live, and now it tops the world's "global happiness rankings" as well.

Meanwhile, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran have registered better results, claiming the 69th, 85th and 108th positions, respectively.

The top four also included Nordic neighbors neighbors Denmark and Iceland as well as Switzerland.

The five lowest ranked were Central African Republic, Burundi, Tanzania, Syria and Rwanda. Americans, however, are happier than European counterparts Germany (16th), the United Kingdom (19th) and France (31st). The United States ranks 14th, falling one spot from the previous year.

The report's ranking are based on an annual survey of 1,000 people in 150 countries conducted between 2014 and 2016 and six measures including ross domestic product per capita, life expectancy, support from relatives or friends, charitable giving, freedom to make life choices and perceived levels of government and corporate corruption.

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President Donald Trump's policies could make perceived happiness worse, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network, said. "It's time to build social trust and healthy lives, not guns or walls. And inequality is rising", Sachs said, citing research and analysis he conducted on America's declining happiness for the report.

Improving happiness in the USA would be much easier to do through social change, the report found. "An worldwide study of comparative ladder ratings in ten countries with large populations, including China, India and the United States, found Nigeria's 2.6 point difference between present and future ratings to be by far the largest.83 Nigeria's spirit of optimism may be exceptional by world standards, but not in Africa".

"People tend to spend the majority of their lives working, so it is important to understand the role that employment and unemployment play in shaping happiness", said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, a professor at the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School. A rise in unemployment, in fact, affects the happiness of everyone, even those with jobs. The report was released on Monday at the United Nations at an event celebrating International Day of Happiness.

The overwhelming importance of having a job for happiness is a major factor, and holds across all of the world's regions.

Happiness in the United States appears to be declining.

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