Only three countries topped Norway in the report. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix
The UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network released its 2016 World Happiness Report on Wednesday, the group's fourth annual survey seeking to quantify happiness.
Norway has consistently ranked near the top in these kinds of lists for decades, and its fourth place finish was the same as the report’s 2015 edition. The country ranked second in the previous version, which was released in 2013.
According to the new rankings, the Danes are the world's happiest, closely followed by Switzerland and Iceland. Following Norway were Finland and Canada, while Sweden fell two spots and barely made it in to the top ten.
As a whole, all of the countries in the top ten were the same as in last year’s edition, with just slightly different ordering.
“The consistency at the top reflects mainly that life evaluations are based on life circumstances that usually evolve slowly, and that are all at high levels in the top countries,” John Helliwell, a professor at the University of British Columbia and one of the editors of the report, said.
Speaking to The Local’s team in Stockholm, Helliwell characterized the changes at the top as “more like repeat winning games between equally matched teams”.
The report looked at data recording how highly people evaluate their lives on a scale running from 0 to 10. The rankings, which are based on surveys in 157 countries, revealed a world average score of 5.1. Norway’s 7.498 average was barely below Denmark’s 7.526, showing how tight the gap was among top nations.
While Norway was bested by its southern neighbour, the nation is still no doubt plenty happy about the fact that it has been dubbed the the world’s best country to live in for twelve years running.
The happiest countries in the world:
7) The Netherlands
8) New Zealand
The least happy countries in the world: