Happiest Countries In The World: Explained | NowThis World

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Each year, the official World Happiness Report tells us which countries are the ‘happiest’ — so who gets to decide what the ‘good life’ looks like?
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Let's talk about happy countries.

Today, we're breaking down the annual World Happiness Report, to explain which countries are the happiest countries in the world and why.

When we look at global rankings, we're often talking about things like purchasing power, military resources, trade partnerships. But some experts say happiness is actually a better indicator of development and public policy successes than other factors.

The World Happiness Report - now in its sixth year - is produced by a UN initiative called the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. They've managed to break down a topic that's both fundamentally subjective and hard to quantify.

Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland, the Nordic countries, are in the top ten. And they've all ranked among the top 10 since the report was first put out. And Switzerland - this year's #5 - has also always hovered near the top also.

So what are the factors (people, resources, education, social services, income, unemployment, gdp) that rank the Nordic countries among the happiest countries in the world?

We spoke to an economist, John Helliwell, who has edited the reports since the beginning. He said the data were compiled from the World Gallup poll, wherein people were asked to value their lives as a whole, with the best possible life being a 10 and the worst possible being a 0.

Of course, a countries happiness is subjective and hard to quantify.

And just because a country makes it onto the ""Happiest countries"" list, doesn't mean they're free of problems or criticism. For example, the Nordic countries have been among those witnessing a rise of far-right political parties and nationalist anti-immigrant sentiment after the European migrant crisis began in 2015.

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NowThis World is dedicated to bringing you topical explainers about the world around you. Each week we’ll be exploring current stories in international news, by examining the facts, providing historical context, and outlining the key players involved. We’ll also highlight powerful countries, ideologies, influential leaders, and ongoing global conflicts that are shaping the current landscape of the international community across the globe today.

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