5 HAPPIEST COUNTRIES: US ranking slips in World Happiness Report

Happiness in the United States has declined majorly in the past decade, as the country’s rank declines again in the annual World Happiness Report.

The U.S. slipped to 14th happiest country in the world, down significantly compared to a decade ago when America was the third happiest country. The reasons for the drop in ranking include a decline in social support and and increased perception of corruption, according to the report.

In support of the United Nationals High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being, a UN committee releases the annual report to “redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts.”

» What’s possible in Dayton? Startups trying to make their mark

The report measures happiness by several indicators including social support, healthy life expectancy at birth, freedom to make life choices, generosity, perceptions of corruption. This year’s report found the biggest single source of misery is mental illness, and work also has a major impact on overall happiness.

“Unemployment causes a major fall in happiness, and even for those in work, the quality of work can cause major variations in happiness,” the report found. So, what does cause widespread happiness? All of the top four countries ranked highly on main factors that support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.

Here are the top 15 happiest countries in the world:

1. Norway

2. Denmark

3. Iceland

4. Switzerland

5. Finland

6. Netherlands

7. Canada

8. New Zealand

9. Australia

10. Sweden

11. Israel

12. Costa Rica

13. Austria

14. United States

15. Ireland

Read the full report here.

About the Author