Australia is among the world’s 10 happiest countries, according to a United Nations report.
Norway topped the World Happiness Report 2017 list, with Australia tying with New Zealand in ninth place behind Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, The Netherlands and Canada.
The report calls on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the wellbeing of their citizens, based on six factors: per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released by UN global initiative Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” SDSN director Jeffrey Sachs said.
He said the aim of the report was to provide another tool for governments, businesses and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing.
Germany was ranked 16, followed by the United Kingdom at 19 and France at 31. The United States dropped one spot to 14 compared to last year’s report.
Mr Sachs said the United States is falling in the ranking due to “inequality, distrust and corruption”.
He added: Economic measures that the administration of President Donald Trump is trying to pursue will make things worse.
“They are all aimed at increasing inequality – tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the healthcare rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction,” Mr Sachs said.
He said he would like nations to follow United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness.
“I want governments to measure this, discuss it, analyse it and understand when they have been off on the wrong direction.”
The 10 most happy:
6. The Netherlands
8. New Zealand
The 10 most unhappy:
147. South Sudan
155. Central African Republic