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The Measure Of Happiness: Why Norwegians Are Smiling The Most

Just recently, the World Happiness Report released their 2017 list of the world’s happiest countries. The most notable changes are Norway jumping from 4th last year to the top of this year’s list and closely followed by other Scandinavian countries; Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland. These five countries are joined by The Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Sweden composing the top ten. On the sad end, out of the 155 countries examined, Rwanda, Syria, Tanzania, and Burundi follow behind Central African Republic as the 5 unhappiest countries to live in.

What are the measures of happiness?

So what makes Norwegians smile more than the rest of the world?

Although economy plays a vital role in the measure of a country’s level of happiness, with Norway it’s less a substantial factor which explains the highest rate of happiness among the top 10 countries. There are 6 factors taken into consideration namely: GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, trust, perceived freedom to make decisions, and generosity. Therefore, it can be said that people don’t entirely rely on the health of their economy to claim happiness. Their perceived absence of corruption in the government and business, having people to rely on in desperate times, and their recent donations were also considered in determining the differences in levels of happiness among nations.

We might also claim that good social foundations and trust establishes people’s perception of their quality of life. While some countries claim to be getting richer, their social capital might be deteriorating. This proves that despite the underlying economic structure of a nation, countries focus more on increasing their economic numbers that take their social crisis for granted. Just look at the United States which ranked 14th this year.

So, let’s take a look at the top 10 countries and the reasons they’re smiling more.


  1. Norway

Up from 4th place last year, Norway tops off this year’s list. In terms of material well-being, it notes in the Children’s World index that Norwegian kids seem to be the least deprived. Meaning, Norwegian parents are richer than any other parents in the world when it comes to providing material support their children need. Also, Norwegians put more trust in their government and feel socially secure, having their friends and relatives’ shoulders (and pocket) to lean on in times of need.

Here are a few more kickass facts about Norway.


  1. Denmark

Despite falling one step this year, Denmark still hails as one of the happiest countries in the world by scoring high on all 6 of the happiness determinants, scoring in 7.52 out of 10. Read these 7 reasons to visit Denmark this 2017 and see for yourself why they are happy.


  1. Iceland

It seems that the famous Blue Lagoon is giving us more reasons to visit Iceland this year. Ranked as 3rd in the happiness meter, Icelanders prove that they are there for each other in times of crisis. Iceland ranks highest in this determinant factor. Having almost 99% of Iceland’s respondents state that they have friends and relatives that offer them social support, it’s no surprise why the country came in at a whopping 2nd place in evaluating their quality of life.


  1. Switzerland

Placing 2nd last year, and only .01 point lower than Iceland this year, the Toblerone country fell to 4th place. Despite this, the differences among these countries are so minimal that you’d never feel it in the air. Want to visit Switzerland this year? Could be a good choice.


  1. Finland

This year, the Nordic countries have proven that they are far happier than any country in the world, specifically the USA, as Finland secures the 5th spot again. Lower corruption, social support, and personal freedom account for this.

Here are some interesting facts about Finland that you might want to know about.


  1. The Netherlands

Netherlands or Holland and Canada exchanged places this year. Scoring 7.377, Holland also scored the highest in average student literacy.

Dutch facts: Dutch men are considered the tallest in the world. Dutch people are among the healthiest in the world, known to consume highly nutritious foods. If being one of the happiest countries doesn’t convince you to pay Holland a visit then maybe its huge numbers of gorgeous men and woman might convince you.


  1. Canada

Although falling one place this year, its diversity and other positive social aspects stamps this country on the top 10. Survey also found that Canada experienced an upward trend on life satisfaction especially among its immigrants. Despite a considerable success on multiculturalism, Canadians have also developed more social trust through programs that push forward a better understanding of inter-ethnicity.

If you’re thinking of Canada for your next travel destination, Lonely Planet: Canada will give you quite a few reasons why.


  1. New Zealand

Kiwi fact: New Zealand was only founded on 1840.

Being one of the youngest countries in the world, New Zealand has embraced diversity well. Self employed Kiwis are seen to have a more positive life evaluation. Others are also content and satisfied with their current employments. Kiwis are also found to be more generous, being the reason for placing a point above Australia.

New Zealand has made visiting easier and for those who are planning to visit Hobbiton, this could be the best year yet.


  1. Australia

Australia scored really well on all determining factors. It has high GDP and respondents reacted positively on the aspects of social support. They also have a positive life evaluation among its senior professionals. However, physical illness, depression, anxiety, and other mental illness that can be linked to employment and income have placed a setback on Australia. Despite all this, we cannot deny the fact that the land down under has become one of the fastest paced developing countries in the world and that in itself is a great reason to make the locals happy! But again, could just be some of the whitest beaches in the world…


  1. Sweden

Closing the top 10 once again is Sweden. With its high GDP per capita, high life expectancy, and positive social support, Swedes are more than happy to hold on to their place with a score of 7.284.

Sweden was also found to have the highest literacy among its students. Nordic countries enjoy high life expectancy and trust their governments for not being corrupt. Also, appreciate tight social relationships and rely on their friends and relatives in time of need.

Viewing the top 10 list, it’s clear to the eye that governments should work on improving their nations economic status, develop programs to reduce poverty, campaign towards better social relations, and reduce the culture of fear in order to provide a better quality of life among its citizens. This will only lead to better satisfaction and more happiness.

Hopefully you’ll find your country on next year’s top 10 list. Thanks for reading!