The latest World Happiness Report shows that Norway has jumped from No. 4 to No. 1, becoming the happiest country on Earth. Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland make up the rest of top five. Despite a rise in income in the U.S. over the past 10 years, happiness has declined, leaving Americans in 14th place. “It’s the human things that matter. If the riches make it harder to have frequent and trustworthy relationship between people, is it worth it?” asked John Helliwell, the lead author of the report. “The material can stand in the way of the human.” The National Academy of Sciences recommended in 2013 that federal surveys and studies in the U.S. be broadened to include more questions about emotional well-being for the sake of implementing policies that help U.S. citizens. Meik Wiking, chief executive officer of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, “What works in the Nordic countries is a sense of community and understanding in the common good.” The very bottom of the happiness list is made up of the Central African Republic, Burundi, Tanzania, Syria, and Rwanda.
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