Cheer up... UK leaps four spots in happiness league
BRITAIN cheered up a bit last year, according to world happiness rankings.
The UK came 19th in the league table of happiest countries, up from 23rd the previous year. Norway topped the table, overtaking Denmark to become happiest nation on Earth.
Iceland was third, with Switzerland fourth and Finland fifth. Australia was ninth while the US slipped a place to 14th.
Germany remained in 16th while France fell one place to 32nd. The study asked more than 1,000 people in each of 155 nations to rate their happiness. Researchers also took into account economic strength, social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption.
Unsurprisingly, the bottom ten places were filled by war-torn nations such as Syria and Yemen, and countries in subSaharan Africa such as South Sudan. Central African Republic fell to last place.
Jeffrey Sachs, director of United Nations research group Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which produced the report, said: ‘Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government.’ Report author John Helliwell, an economist at the University of British Columbia, added that happiness was not simply equated with wealth. ‘It’s the human things that matter,’ he said. ‘The material can stand in the way of the human.’
The research was conducted before last June’s Brexit vote, so it is too early to draw any conclusions that leaving the EU has made the UK happier.