Norway tops the 2017 World Happiness Report, and here are some of the reasons why.
According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, Norway is officially the world’s happiest country
Based on an average score offered by residents who had been asked to rate their lives on a scale from 0 to 10, Norway came top with a score of 7.54 on the Happy Scale. Norway has a great education system, economic growth, high life-expectancy, a culture of generosity, social support and freedom.
Top four countries rank highly on all main factors found to support happiness
According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, Norway has jumped from 4th place in 2016 to 1st place this year, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch.
All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness:
- Good governance
Their averages are so close that small changes can re-order the rankings from year to year. Norway moves to the top of the ranking despite weaker oil prices. It is sometimes said that Norway achieves and maintains its high happiness not because of its oil wealth, but in spite of it.
By choosing to produce its oil slowly, and investing the proceeds for the future rather than spending them in the present, Norway has insulated itself from the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies.
To do this successfully requires high levels of mutual trust, shared purpose, generosity and good governance, all factors that help to keep Norway and other top countries where they are in the happiness rankings.
All of the other countries in the top ten also have high values in all six of the key variables used to explain happiness differences among countries and through time—income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust, with the latter measured by the absence of corruption in business and government.
The lowdown on taxes from a Bright Vibes reader: an actual Norwegian!
Some people argue that high taxes in Scandinavia, and Norway in particular, cause the standard of living to be higher but must also cause the population to be resentful. Here is a retort to that argument from Norwegian Ingelin Jorselje, posted in the comment section when Bright Vibes first posted this video:
"Haha, you folks, it is great fun to read your comments. Let me answer to some of it, if you’d like some true facts about Norway, as I am 100% Norwegian, born and raised in Norway. Average tax here is 28-32%. Those with children get some of it back, also those with a loan on their house, along with some other specific things that returns some of what you paid back.
Those with a high income pay more in taxes, like if you have a salary from around $70.000 and up, you pay up to 50% in tax.
And yes, we do have a great income from our oil industry in the North sea. But what actually made Norway a wealthy country was women attending the workforce during the 1970s. Both men and women work. The government have a strong regulation on how much of the income from the oil that can be used, most of it are put away in funds.
Some things are expensive here yes, like buying and owning a car is more expensive than other countries due to taxes, alcohol is expensive. But boy, I pay my taxes with great joy and gratitude, knowing that if anything happens to me, I get it back. If I get ill, I go to hospital and get the best treatment and I don’t pay a dime. I can get an appointment with my own doctor within 3-5 days, if urgent, the same day. I pay a little share, like around $30 to see my doctor.
If I lose my job, the welfare system gives me 60% of the salary I had, until I get a new job.
Education is free, and students can easily get a loan to pay for books, housing and stuff during their studies if they want.
And so on. Of course, Norway and Norwegians are not perfect, at all, I am not saying that. But as a Norwegian, I am very grateful for the possibilities and the goods we have here, and many many Norwegians are very aware of how lucky we are." — Ingelin Jorselje
To read a fact-filled, in-depth report into Scandanavian taxation systems and how they pay for their government spending, compared to the American system CLICK.
Be more like Norwegians: 45 Ways to be Happier
Sometimes it can feel hard to keep up a happy state of mind. The emotion, like all the others, isn’t always permanent. But there are ways to keep it up or boost it when you need it ― and luckily, they’re simpler than you think. Here's are 45 suggestions to help you lead a happier life.