that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special adviser to the UN secretary-general, said in an interview.
The aim of the report, he added, was to provide another tool for governments, businesses and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing.
Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top 10 countries.
South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic were at the bottom.
Germany was ranked 16; followed by the United Kingdom (19) and France (31). The United States dropped one spot to 14.
Sachs said the US was falling in the ranking due to inequality, distrust and corruption. Economic measures that the administration of President Donald Trump was trying to pursue, he added, would make things worse.
“They are all aimed at increasing inequality — tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the healthcare rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction,” he said.
The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.
“The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables,” said the report, produced with the support of the Ernesto Illy Foundation.
Sachs urged nations to follow the United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness.
“I want governments to measure this, discuss it, analyse it and understand when they have been off on the wrong direction,” he said. Reuters