The United Nations has released the 2017 World Happiness Report, ranking New Zealand as the eighth happiest country in the world, above Australia at ninth.
The report was launched in 2012, and was created to focus world leaders’ attention on the wellbeing of their people rather than traditional metrics such as Gross Domestic Produce (GDP).
The rankings are based on income and life expectancy data, along with how citizens rate factors such as social support, personal freedom, absence of corruption and generosity. Each country was then given an average happening score ranging from 1 to 10.
This year, the ranking of happiest countries is:
1. Norway: 7.54
2. Denmark: 7.42
3. Iceland: 7.5
4. Switzerland: 7.49
5. Finland: 7.47
6. Netherlands: 7.38
7. Canada: 7.32
8. New Zealand: 7.32
9. Australia: 7.28
10. Sweden: 7.28
14. United States: 6.99
19. United Kingdom: 6.714
And these are the saddest:
146. Yemen: 3.59
147. South Sudan: 3.59
148. Liberia: 3.53
149. Guinea: 3.51
150. Togo: 3.49
151. Rwanda: 3.47
152. Syria: 3.46
153. Tanzania: 3.35
154. Burundi: 2.91
155. Central African Republic: 2.69
Although money is an important component to happiness, the authors stress that it isn’t everything.
For example, Norway took the top spot this year, despite recent declines in oil prices, which is a backbone of its economy. Meanwhile, the United States saw an increase in per capita income but still declined in the rankings. In a statement, the report’s co-editor Jeffrey Sachs said:
The World Happiness Report continues to draw global attention around the need to create sound policy for what matters most to people — their well-being. 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.
Actually, this isn’t the first year that our neighbour has beaten us in happiness. It turns out that they have consistently managed to stay one spot higher than us in each report.
I guess we can’t complain if we’re always in the top ten, right?
We’ve always enjoyed a friendly rivalry with New Zealand, and this is a battle that is definitely winnable. If anything, the report is a great motivation for us to make a show of definitely being MUCH happier since Australians love nothing more than beating the Kiwis.