A United Nations agency has released the 2017 World Happiness Report.
The report, which ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels was released today [20th March, 2017] at the United Nations at an event celebrating International Day of Happiness.
Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and and Finland round out the top five, while the Central African Republic came last.
Western Europe and North America dominated the top of table, with the US and UK at 14th and 19th, respectively.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa and those hit by conflict have predictably low scores. Syria placed 152 of 155 countries – Yemen and South Sudan, which are facing impending famine, came in at 146 and 147.
The report, which was published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network mainly relies on asking a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people every year in more than 150 countries.
“Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top,” the question asks.
“The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?”
The average result is the country’s score – ranging from Norway’s 7.54 to the Central African Republic’s 2.69. But the report also tries to analyse statistics to explain why one country is happier than another.
It looks at factors including economic strength (measured in GDP per capita), social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption.