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Norway is the happiest country on Earth, finds UN agency report

India dropped four spots to rank 122nd in the study, which said the country was among 10 others witnessing the biggest happiness decline.

A United Nation’s report has declared Norway the happiest country on Earth. The Nordic country rose from its fourth place ranking in 2016 to topple Denmark from the top position. Iceland, Switzerland and Finland take up the remaining spots in the top five, while the Central African Republic trailed the survey of 155 countries.

The study by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network was based on “subjective well-being”, which includes how happy people are and why. The organisation released the document on the UN International Day of Happiness, which is observed on March 20 every year. Most countries in Western Europe and North America were rated in the first half of the survey, while nations from sub-Saharan Africa scored poorly.

“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” Jeffrey Sachs, SDSN director and special adviser to the UN secretary-general.

Meanwhile, India dropped four spots to the 122nd rank in the happiness report, which rated the country as one of 10 others witnessing the biggest happiness decline. The others clubbed in this category include Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and Botswana. India ranked lower than Somalia, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the list.

The United States slipped one place in its ranking (14) on account of inequality, distrust and corruption, Sachs said, adding that President Donald Trump’s policies are likely to “make things worse”, Reuters reported.

The survey was based on six major criteria, including per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business. War-torn Syria as well as Yemen and South Sudan, which are reeling from famine and starvation, scored poorly. Sachs said the document aimed at providing governments, businesses and civil societies ways to help their countries find a better way to well-being.

Moreover, he praised the United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed happiness ministers. “I want governments to measure this, discuss it, analyse it and understand when they have been off on the wrong direction,” Sachs said.

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