Happy Norway Topples Denmark

Happy Norway

Norway is the happiest country in the world, according to a United Nations agency report.

Norway has taken the number one position in the latest edition of the World Happiness Report from its neighbours Denmark.

The annual survey measures “subjective well-being”, which is basically how happy the people are, and why. Much of the survey relies on asking a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people every year in more than 150 countries.

World Happiness Report

The question reads: “Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?”

All five Nordic countries – Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Sweden – feature in the top ten, alongside Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Despite cold weather and a high cost of living, the Nordic nations have long enjoyed a reputation as a great place to live and this survey will just confirm that.

The USA sits 14th in the table, while the UK is 19th. The Central African Republic, Burundi, Tanzania, Syria, and Rwanda make up the bottom five.

The report is known for its headline-grabbing rankings but also for its analysis of the statistics and the trends they show. This year the publication contains a chapter called “restoring American happiness”, which aims to examine why happiness levels in the USA are falling, despite an increasing economic improvement.

“The United States can and should raise happiness by addressing America's multi-faceted social crisis – rising inequality, corruption, isolation, and distrust – rather than focusing exclusively or even mainly on economic growth,” reads the report.

“America's crisis is, in short, a social crisis, not an economic crisis.”

If you're wondering why Norway is the happiest place on earth, take a look around this website. We've done our best to explain things over the last six years! Here are some articles that may be of particular interest:

Happy workers in Norway: Only dear neighbours Denmark have happier young professional workers than Norway, a new survey has revealed.

How to be Norwegian: Admittedly, Norwegians can seem quirky at first and there might be lots of things that might baffle you about their culture but really, it doesn’t take too much to become a real Norwegian.

The Day of the Dugnad: I can best describe it as a type of community day where people get together and fix, clean, paint or tidy things up. It is usually based outdoors involving some sort of manual labour.

8 Reasons to Love Winter in Norway: I know that when the snow comes it means skiing, cabin time, snowboarding, Christmas festivities, time with family/friends, and the true raw beauty of Norway greeting me every day.

Norway Weekly Email Newsletter

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

2 Comments

  1. Norway today is how the USA used to be back in the days. Used to be a time in the States where you could get a decent job, buy a house, and spend time with your family.

    1. Not sure about the buy a house part. I’ve grown up in the US and lived and worked in Norway, UK and Australia, and it is becoming a big stretch for those trying to buy their house, without parental help, in Norway, as well as Australia.
      Herb , Hobart, Australia

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