What’s the happiest country in the world?

What’s the happiest country in the world?

If your idea of happiness involves palm trees and sunshine, then why is it that the happiest people in the world come from a place where you’re far more likely to find snow and polar bears?

The people of Norway, not some Caribbean paradise, are the happiest in the world.

That’s according to the 2017 World Happiness Report. Norway tops the list, followed by three other relatively chilly spots: Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. The other countries in the top 10 are Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and Sweden, which tied for ninth.

You won’t find the United States until you reach number 14, which is down one spot from last year.

The report, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels. The authors reported that all the top four countries ranked highly on the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income, and good governance. To calculate the rankings, the authors looked at data such as gross domestic product per capita, healthy years of life expectancy and social support.

Among their findings: Work is a major factor affecting happiness, with unemployment resulting in a dip in happiness levels. The biggest single source of misery, according to the report, is mental illness. The authors also found that income differences matter more in poorer countries.

How to find happiness right where you live

While the study reflects well on life in Norway, you don’t have to move there to find happiness. Stay put and consider following these five keys to happiness from Rev. Fred Rajan, the vice president of mission and spiritual care at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.:

  • Surround yourself with a large pool of family and friends who provide support, love, and belonging.
  • Be curious to learn, engage and share new ideas. There is a wide world out there. Go and explore.
  • Lead a purpose-driven life. God created you for a purpose. Keep that in mind in all you do.
  • Engage in selfless service. Be a volunteer for something you believe in.
  • Know who you are. Accept the fact that this how God created you. Be nice to yourself. You are precious.

Related Posts



  1. It’s kind of a shame that god can still be plugged into articles that are otherwise meant to be professional. I know the last section was written by a man of the church, but if this article said “Accept the fact that this (is) how Allah created you.” it never would have made it to publishing. haha

    • Agreed – the sentences about God aren’t even necessary for the meaning to stay the same.

      Just because Advocate is a faith-based system doesn’t mean God has to be mentioned in every publication.

  2. Great article.

  3. Why be offended? The context of the use of the term “God” is basis for our point of origin, and as mentioned, purpose. I can see, however, how this would be offensive if you feel your point of origin is with the primates at the Brookfield zoo.

  4. When I read this article I found it interesting and inspiring. I was surprised to read the negative comments above. This article has infact more meaning for me when faith is incorporated at a personal level. Not everyone believes in the same God but could find this applicable in spite of that. Thank you for this short and meaningful read.

  5. I am a non religious believer in The Laws of The Universe and I try to read such statements with the appropriate word substitutions….
    Address to editor, “Take note…in an exclusionary world, sometimes the message suffers from lack of judicious editing”!
    I VERY much agree with the message, assuming we can each find a personal substitution for the word GOD, as all named higher powers trigger powerful ideology irrelevant to how we choose to behave toward each other daily.
    Did anybody else notice how high caring and kindness were on the list of happy making?

  6. We all have differences in our faith and belief ,we take and assimilate what we think is good for us and should keep an open mind on things that we don’t agree with.

  7. Don’t complain about the term GOD. I was thrilled to find that somebody had the courage to use it. This country was founded on that belief. Everyone is free to worship as they believe, but STOP trying to take away what my country was founded on. I’m tired of the term ” politically correct”. I agree with Roxanne. Substitute your own words. Jaime too. Loved Al’s comment also.

  8. Thomas Jefferson May 18, 2017 at 11:40 am · Reply

    This country was founded on religious freedom, not any particular god. We have the freedom to believe in any god or not to believe in any god.

About the Author

Kathleen Troher
Kathleen Troher

Kathleen Troher, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Good Sheperd Hospital in Barrington. She has more than 20 years of journalism experience, with her primary focus in the newspaper and magazine industry. Kathleen graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, earning her degree in journalism with an emphasis on science writing and broadcasting. She loves to travel with her husband, Ross. They share their home with a sweet Samoyed named Maggie.