Taiwan ranked the world's 33rd happiest country

Posted March 21, 2017

Don't worry, it's not you.

And the numbers are in: Norway is the happiest country in the world. In the US, happiness has been declining for the past decade even as the nation has become richer. "But the data show conclusively that this is the wrong approach", said Sachs, in a section of the report entitled "Restoring American Happiness".

Surprisingly, Nicaragua charted the biggest gains in the ranking, and is included in the list of 20 countries reporting the highest gains in happiness.

The results are based on data from surveys that use six criteria to assess the happiness levels in each country: healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support, perceptions of freedom to make life choices, generosity of donations, and perceptions of corruption. Norway, whose people reported feeling the satisfaction equivalent of ladder step level 7.54 on average.

While efforts to eliminate poverty and reduce unemployment are crucial, it turns out the most powerful way to decrease misery in the world is the elimination of depression and anxiety disorders (the most common forms of mental illness).

Denmark, last year's Happiest Country, was ranked second on this year's list, followed by Iceland and Switzerland.

War-stricken Yemen and Syria featured in the bottom 10, with Tanzania, Burundi and Central African Republic making up the final three. The U.S. ranked No. 15 - down one spot from 2016 - out of 155 countries in the study published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Action for Happiness is a movement of people from all walks of life who are taking action in their personal lives, communities, workplaces and schools to help create a happier and more caring society. There are also considerable inequalities in life evaluations in African countries, and this inequality in happiness has increased over the past years. And our government is becoming more and more corrupt.

America's problems with rising income inequality, distrust with the government, how the country reacted to the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the nation's "deteriorating" educational system are some possible factors cited in the report.

It is made clear, he writes, by "worsening public health indicators"; "plummeting" trust in government; and "astronomical" income inequality, with "the rise of mega-dollars in USA politics" and the "deterioration of America's educational system" helping to fuel "destruction of social capital". Decreased social support and increased corruption are two of the main causes, according to the report.