Norway is the happiest country in the world

Norwegians have more reason than ever to celebrate the International Day of Happiness.

The World Happiness Report is a survey of global societal well-being that ranks 155 countries by happiness levels using variables such as GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy.

In the U.N.'s 2017 World Happiness Report released on Monday, Norway snatches the top spot, knocking Denmark to second place, followed by Iceland in third and Switzerland in fourth.

The United States, which ranked 3rd among the OECD countries when the index was first conceived, is now at 14th position, mainly on account of declining social support, lesser personal freedom and corruption, the same factors that put Nordic nations and countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in the Top Ten.

Other superpowers didn't fare better than Northern Europe either. Canada came in at 7 while the USA ranked lower down at number 14. Japan moved up two spots to 51st place, while China moved up four spots to 79th place.

In contrast, the unhappiest places on earth in descending order are Yemen, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Syria, Tanzania, Burundi and lastly, the Central African Republic. Among them are the rise of big money in USA politics (thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court case), increasing income inequality, poor and crushingly expensive education and a seemingly endless war on terror.

The report noted that key factors that lead to misery are not exclusively economic variables (such as income and employment), but also social factors (education and family life), as well as mental and physical health.

"This report gives special attention to the social foundations of happiness for individuals and nations... this can be seen by comparing the life experiences between the top and bottom ten countries in this year's happiness rankings", the report said. This lead to high levels of mutual trust, generosity and shared goal for its citizens, a by-product of good governance present in the country, The Guardian reported.

Norway, the largest oil producer in Western Europe, is a prosperous country - despite a recent drop in oil prices - with a very generous welfare state. The least happiest countries in the world often suffer from deep economic troubles.

Wiki said, "What works in Norway is the people's attitude towards common good and a sense of community".

Still, you have to have money to be happy, and it is no coincidence that Norway is one of the richest nations in the world.

"In rich countries the biggest single cause of misery is mental illness", said Professor Richard Layard, director of the Wellbeing Programme at the London School of Economics' Centre for Economic Performance. Cantril's 1960s study already reported a difference of 2.6 points between the country's average present (4.8) and future (7.4) ladder ratings.

In 2017, the World Happiness Report (WHR) found that happiness is less evident in Africa than in other regions of the world. It's little wonder we're so happy. Since 2012, many governments and governmental organizations have made well-being or happiness a priority.

The authors encouraged all nations to follow United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness.

"Why can't Americans who are the brightest people in the world do the same thing as we do to make the happiest people?"