By Joy Allmond
It seems like the “Land of Opportunity” would be among the 10 most happy countries, but it’s not.
According to a recent World Happiness Report, the United States dropped four spots from last year—moving from 14th place to 18th in a survey of 156 countries taken from 2015 to 2017.
The rankings are based on six key areas of well-being: healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, income, and generosity. Finland took first place, followed by Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland.
Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development and report co-editor, says happiness ratings for the U.S. are falling in part due to epidemics like untreated depression, obesity, and substance abuse.
Other major powers, like Germany (15th) and the United Kingdom (19th), also were not among the top 10 happiest countries.
Immigration was a key factor in the findings from the 2018 report. The immigrant happiness rankings are based on surveys conducted between 2005 and 2015, covering 117 countries.
Report co-editor John Helliwell, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia, says there is consistency between the immigrants and natives of a country.
The 10 happiest countries were among the top 11 spots ranked in immigrant happiness. Mexico, which was ranked the 24th overall happiest country, was in the No. 10 spot in immigrant happiness.
“Although immigrants come from countries with very different levels of happiness, their reported life evaluations converge towards those of other residents in their new countries,” said Helliwell in a news release.
“Those who move to happier countries gain, while those who move to less happy countries lose.”
The 10 happiest countries, according to the report:
- New Zealand
JOY ALLMOND (@joyallmond) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.