Norway tops list of who's happy
Norway tops list of who's happy Norwegian comedian Harald Ela explains why Norwegians are the happiest people on earth during an interview with the Associated Press in Oslo, Norway on Monday March 20, 2017. (AP Photo/David Keyton/AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Norway tops list of who's happy
Lexile: 950L
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

If you want to go to your happy place, you need more than cash. A winter coat helps. And so does a sense of community.
 
A new report shows Norway is the happiest country on Earth. Americans are getting sadder. And it takes more than just money to be happy.
 
Norway vaulted to the top slot in the World Happiness Report. This is despite the plummeting price of oil. A key part of its economy is oil. Income in the United States has gone up over the past decade. But happiness is declining.
 
The United States was 14th in the latest ranking. That is down from No. 13 last year. Over the years, Americans steadily have been rating themselves less happy.
 
"It's the human things that matter. If the riches make it harder to have frequent and trustworthy relationships between people, is it worth it?" asked John Helliwell. He is the lead author of the report. He also is an economist at the University of British Columbia in Canada (ranked No. 7). "The material can stand in the way of the human."
 
Studying happiness may seem frivolous. But serious academics have long been calling for more testing about people's emotional well-being, especially in the United States. In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report. It recommended that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness because it would lead to better policy that affects people's lives.
 
Norway moved from No. 4 to the top spot in the report's rankings. They combine economic, health and polling data compiled by economists that are averaged over three years. Those are from 2014 to 2016. Norway edged past previous champ Denmark, which fell to second. Iceland, Switzerland and Finland round out the top 5.
 
"Good for them. I don't think Denmark has a monopoly on happiness," said Meik Wiking, chief executive officer of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. Wiking wasn't part of the global scientific study that came out with the rankings.
 
"What works in the Nordic countries is a sense of community and understanding in the common good," Wiking said.
 
Still, you have to have some money to be happy. It is why most of the bottom countries are in desperate poverty. But at a certain point extra money doesn't buy extra happiness, Helliwell and others said.
 
Central African Republic fell to last on the happiness list. It is joined at the bottom by Burundi, Tanzania, Syria and Rwanda.
 
The report ranks 155 countries. The economists have been ranking countries since 2012. But the data used goes back farther so the economists can judge trends.
 
The rankings are based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy with four factors from global surveys. In those surveys, people give scores from 1 to 10. The ranking implies how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are.
 
While most countries were either getting happier or at least treading water, America's happiness score dropped 5 percent. It fell over the past decade. Venezuela and the Central African Republic slipped the most over the past decade. Nicaragua and Latvia increased the most.
 
Study co-author and economist Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University said in a phone interview that the sense of community, so strong in Norway, is deteriorating in the United States.
 
"We're becoming more and more mean spirited. And our government is becoming more and more corrupt. And inequality is rising," Sachs said. He cited research and analysis he conducted on America's declining happiness for the report. "It's a long-term trend and conditions are getting worse."
 
University of Maryland's Carol Graham, who wasn't a study author but did review some chapters, said the report mimics what she sees in the American rural areas. She said her research shows poor whites have a deeper lack of hope, which she connects to rises in addictions to painkillers and suicide among that group.
 
"There is deep misery in the heartland," Graham, author of the book "The Pursuit of Happiness," wrote in an email.
 
Happiness - and doing what you love - is more important than politicians think, said study author Helliwell. He rated his personal happiness a 9 on a 1-to-10 scale.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/norway-tops-list-whos-happy/

Filed Under:  
Assigned 239 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why does happiness rise and fall?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (32)
  • isabellab3-bur
    4/27/2017 - 05:41 p.m.

    Happiness rises and falls beacause things in people's lives are constantly changing. Consistent happiness is impossible, all people have their good and bad days and we can't change that. Like you might be having a bad morning because you ran out of jelly at home, but go to school and laugh at a joke a friend told you and feel good again.

  • loganf1-bur
    5/01/2017 - 11:18 a.m.

    In response to "Norway tops list of who's happy," I agree that happiness rises and falls. One reason I agree is that when states go down in a nation's ranking they find them self less happy. It says in the article,"The United States was 14th in the latest ranking. That is down from No. 13 last year. Over the years, Americans steadily have been rating themselves less happy." Another reason is that research shows the way some states life and rank that happiness score. It says in the article."...she sees in the American rural areas. She said her research shows poor whites have a deeper lack of hope, which she connects to rises in addictions to painkillers and suicide among that group." A third reason some people do what they love and that ranks them high on the scale. In the article it says,"Happiness - and doing what you love - is more important than politicians think, said study author Helliwell. He rated his personal happiness a 9 on a 1-to-10 scale." Even though people may say different, I think happiness does rise and fall.

  • brianac-bur
    5/01/2017 - 11:19 a.m.

    Happiness rises and falls because, some people get bullied others might be happy at first but as they get older there sadness continues.

  • nylahv-bur
    5/01/2017 - 02:05 p.m.

    Happiness rises and falls because there's this thing called EMOTIONS. Emotions are usually horrible in every way and make you act impulsively. This is why America's happiness is declining. People can't handle their emotions and make things worse for everyone else. America needs help.

  • andreass-bur
    5/04/2017 - 10:26 p.m.

    Why does happiness rise and fall? Because people might be rich and hang out with their friends one year and the next year there struggling to pay bills. Or one year someone is in college depressed and doing mad work and next year ur free.

  • tyanar-bur
    5/06/2017 - 03:52 p.m.

    Happiness, could rise and fall because, in almost everyone's mind money is the pursuit of happiness. In the article, it explains that they base the ranking on "gross domestic product per person and healthy life expectancy". Also the additionally , how would you rank yourself from 1 to 10. This is based on how "social support they fell when something doesn't go right, their freedom to make there own decision, and their sense of how corrupt society is"

  • ashtonc1-bur
    5/15/2017 - 11:13 a.m.

    It says in the article."...she sees in the American rural areas. She said her research shows poor whites have a deeper lack of hope, which she connects to rises in addictions to painkillers and suicide among that group." A third reason some people do what they love and that ranks them high on the scale. In the article it says,"Happiness - and doing what you love - is more important than politicians think, said study author Helliwell. He rated his personal happiness a 9 on a 1-to-10 scale." Even though people may say different, I think happiness does rise and fall

  • andrewf-kut
    6/09/2017 - 10:12 a.m.

    I remember seeing on the new s that norway was the happiest area on earth.

  • ellyb-orv
    1/17/2018 - 02:55 p.m.

    I saw on a new currents that Norway and Finland are the happiest countries. I wish the United States could be one of the happiest.

  • eduardor-orv
    2/27/2018 - 06:54 p.m.

    The happiness factor probably depends on the surrounding environment of the people. I've heard that in countries like Norway and Finland, the people lead relatively stress free lives. In schools and in the workplace, those people focus on collaboration rather than competition. There scientific development is very high, crime rates are low, poverty is almost non-existent, healthcare is easily accessible, life expectancy is high- they've got a lot of stuff going for them. Add to that the amount of natural scenic beauty that surrounds them- the clean air, the lush forests, the diverse wildlife. This ideal environment is probably the reason why people are so happy here.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT