World Happiness Report: Norway tops list, Canada is 7th, Philippines ranks 72nd

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  • A new report shows Norway is the happiest country on Earth.

    Norway jumped to the top slot in the World Happiness Report released on March 20 although prices of oil, a key part of its economy, are falling.

    Income in the United States has gone up over the past decade, but happiness is declining.

    The United States was 14th in the latest ranking, down from No. 13 last year, and over the years Americans steadily have been rating themselves less happy.

    “It’s the human things that matter. If the riches make it harder to have frequent and trustworthy relationship between people, is it worth it?” asked John Helliwell, the lead author of the report and an economist at the University of British Columbia in Canada. “The material can stand in the way of the human.”

    Canada ranks 7th in the list of happiest countries in the world.

    While Canada is ahead of the U.S. in the rankings, it has also dropped a spot. It was No. 6 last year.

    The report also shows that Filipinos have been happier citizens in the past year – 10 notches higher, to be exact.

    The Philippines ranked 72nd out of 155 countries in the World Happiness Report for 2017, according to data released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.

    Last year, the Philippines was No. 82 on the list.

    Norway, now on top, rose from No. 4 in 2016.

    Norway edged past previous leader Denmark, which fell to second. Iceland, Switzerland and Finland round out the top 5.

    The United States is 14th in the latest rankings, down from No. 13 last year, and over the years Americans steadily have been rating themselves less happy.

    In Asia, Singapore is the happiest country, at No. 26 overall, followed by Thailand (32), Taiwan (33), Malaysia (42), Japan (51), Hong Kong (71), China (79) and Indonesia (81).

    The Philippines scored high in the social support area measure of the Happiness Index (1.254), followed by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (0.858), freedom to make life choices (0.585), health life expectancy (0.468), generosity (0.194) and perceptions of corruption (0.099).

    Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) poses for a selfie with students during the First Ministers’ meeting in Ottawa, Canada November 23, 2015. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

    The Philippines was also among top 20 gainers in terms of Changes in Happiness from 2005-2007 to 2014-2016, which showed average ladder scores increasing by 0.50 or more, alongside Thailand in Asia.

    The Central African Republic fell to the last position on the list, and is joined at the bottom by Burundi, Tanzania, Syria and Rwanda.

    The report ranks 155 countries. The economists have been ranking countries since 2012, but the data used goes back farther so the economists can judge trends.

    The rankings are based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy with four factors from global surveys. In those surveys, people give scores from 1 to 10 on how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are.

    While most countries were either getting happier or at least treading water, America’s happiness score dropped 5 per cent over the past decade. Venezuela and the Central African Republic slipped the most over the past decade. Nicaragua and Latvia increased the most.

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