Canada slips in ranks while Finland tops global happiness report

World Happiness Report, by the U.N Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 156 countries

Finland has topped an index of the happiest nations for the second consecutive year, with researchers saying the small Nordic country of 5.5 million has succeeded in generating a happiness recipe for a balanced life not simply dependent on economic and material wealth.

The World Happiness Report, produced by the U.N Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens see themselves to be.

It’s based on factors including economic wealth, life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices and levels of government corruption.

The index, published Wednesday, showed the other Nordic countries did well again this year, with Denmark, Norway and Iceland taking the next spots. The remaining top ten nations were The Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria.

The United States dropped from the 18th to 19th place despite enjoying a booming economy in the past few years.

Canada ranked 9th this year, compared to 7th last year.

The 134-page report noted that, in general, happiness levels have decreased worldwide despite continued economic growth. That’s partly explained by “dramatic falls” in happiness in population dense countries like the United States, Egypt and India, it said.

“The worldwide tendency of a considerable decline in average happiness, despite the general growth in GDP per capita, is proof that measuring happiness and life satisfaction in terms of economic wealth alone is not at all sufficient,” said Meik Wiking, CEO of think-tank The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, who took part in the report.

READ MORE: Vancouver unhappiest city in Canada: Survey

READ MORE: The secret to happiness is helping others

Wiking believes the erosion of happiness in the United States can be blamed on a “social crisis” where many Americans are increasingly feeling that they cannot trust their fellow citizens and feel “they have no one to count on in times of need.”

“The divide between rich and poor also creates an erosion of the cohesion and trust between people, which is so vital for the feeling of safety and security and therefore for the overall happiness level of the American people,” Wiking said.

“By most accounts, Americans should be happier now than ever,” wrote Professor Jean M. Twenge from the San Diego State University, referring to low U.S. unemployment and violent crime rates, improved living standards and income level.

She suggested that a factor could be the substantially increased time Americans are spending on electronic devices and social media, habits that have led to low in-person social interaction and decreased sleeping time, among other things.

The report noted that happiness has declined the most drastically in the past ten years in the 108th placed Venezuela, a South American nation currently in economic turmoil with a severe political crisis.

Out of the bottom ten countries in the index, six are African nations. South Sudan is the least happy country, followed by Central African Republic and Afghanistan.

The report was compiled by prominent economists John F. Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey D. Sachs.

Jari Tanner, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Somass River sockeye fishery estimates cut in half

Local fisheries closed; poor ocean survival a prime suspect

‘Lightning’ hits Sproat Lake for annual regatta

Alberni Valley Regatta Association hosted sixth annual races

Port Alberni track and field athletes excel at BC championships

Pair brings home titles in javelin, hammer throw

City of Port Alberni to discuss train station in committee of the whole meeting

City has received two “high quality” expressions of interest in redeveloping the train station

New gazebo for Alberni’s Heritage Place

SONJA DRINKWATER SPECIAL TO THE NEWS Residents of Heritage Place Assisted Living… Continue reading

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Rare white ravens spotted again in mid-Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

CO’s call off efforts to trap bear who attacked North Island man

Woss man recuperating after incident on remote logging road

Too much time on social media can hurt teens’ mental health: study

Researchers conducted a four-year survey of more than 3,800 adolescents between Grades 7 and 11

Most Read