Americans Are "Sadder" Than Usual And Money Can't Buy You Happiness

Norway has been named the happiest nation on Earth in a new report which tracks and measures contentment and well-being in more than 150 countries.

Meanwhile, Americans are getting sadder; China is no happier than it was 25 years ago; and it appears to take more than just cash money to lift up someone's mood (refuting certain Wu-Tang claims).

(Photograph: Markus Trienke)

All four top countries rank high on all main factors found to support happiness: "caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance." (Photo: Markus Trienke)

The annual World Happiness Report, produced in collaboration with the United Nations, came out on Monday to coincide with World Happiness Day.

It states that, despite weaker oil prices (central to its economy), Norway has jumped from fourth in 2016 to first this year, followed by a Denmark-Iceland-and-Switzerland-close-knit-threesome.

Income in the US has risen over the past decade, but happiness has declined, placing them 14th. The situation is so miserable, in fact, the report has an entire chapter on restoring American happiness.

Ireland was one place lower in 15th, and the UK is 19th – sandwiched between Chile and Luxemburg.

Money does seem to matter, with most of the countries at the bottom of the list "desperately poor" but after a certain point, extra money does not buy happiness, the report states.

Income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust (measured by the absence of government corruption) are all used to measure happiness.

In Britain, the US, Australia and Indonesia, mental illness was seen to be more important than income, employment and physical illness.

Having a partner is also a crucial factor in most Western countries, apart from Indonesia, reflecting the importance it places on extended families.

"Policy-makers need to know the causes of happiness and misery," the report states:

"[This] includes economic factors (such as income and employment), social factors (such as education and family life), and health (mental and physical)."

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