In a new life quality report from the Social Progress Imperative, Norway fell from last year's first place position to seventh this year.
The Nordic nation was this year topped by neighbours Finland, Denmark and Sweden.
The Social Progress Index does not look at economic conditions, but instead concentrates instead on basic needs like food and water, as well as security and crime, access to basic knowledge, health, education and political and personal freedom.
Although Norway is a safe country with low crime, good access to clean water and many online and mobile users, it was this year overtaken by its Nordic brethren in the rankings, which examined a total of 133 countries. Finland was the overall winner, while Denmark was third and Sweden was sixth. Iceland rounded out the top ten.
“Whilst the Nordic model of social responsibility is rightly seen as a world-beater, in fact, this year’s Index demonstrates that you don’t need to be from a Nordic nation to enjoy very high levels of social progress,” Michael Green, the executive director of the Social Progress Imperative, said in a press release. “Policy-makers around the world would do well to look at countries like Canada and Australia to learn what leaders are successfully doing to improve the lives of their citizens.”
A high number of overweight people, high suicide rate and expensive homes were among the factors that made Norway fall six spots from last year’s number one ranking. But there were very small margins among the countries that score the highest.
Anders Barstad, who conducts research on living conditions for Statistics Norway (SSB), said there is no need for Norwegians to feel like things have deteriorated over the past year.
“The distance to the top is very short. The top ten countries are about the same,” he told broadcaster NRK.
Aase Aamdal Lundgaard from consulting firm Deloitte, which helped to fund the study, said the rankings were less a result of Norway falling and more a case of other countries catching up.
“What we see is that we are making progress in many areas, but that the other countries may have made a little more progress,” Lundgaard said.
The Central African Republic, Afghanistan and Chad were at the bottom of the rankings.