The annual World Happiness Report was released yesterday with Canada in the seventh spot and Norway at number one. While seventh might seem pretty good considering there are over 150 countries included in the report, this is actually the lowest ranking Canada has ever received since the first report in 2012.
The central purpose of the World Happiness Report has been “to survey the science of measuring and understanding subjective well-being.” It measures things like GDP per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, trust (as measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government and business), perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity (as measured by recent donations). The top ten countries—including Canada—all ranked highly on all six of these factors.
According to John Helliwell, the lead author of the report and an economist at the University of British Columbia, this year's report reveals that money doesn't necessarily equal happiness. ”It’s the human things that matter. If the riches make it harder to have frequent and trustworthy relationships between people, is it worth it?’' he asks.
So what is Norway doing right? Accord to the report, qualities such as “caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance” helped the country hit number one this year. It probably also helps that new parents in Norway are eligible for nearly a year off with pay and the country has generous social safety nets with access to higher education and high-quality health services.
Canada may have dropped this year, but ranking in the top ten still means we’re a pretty happy nation in general. In case you’re interested, the U.S ranked number 14.