I’m not happy – or I’m not as happy as I could be. And, it seems, neither are you.
We may find some source of peace with our jobs, our home life, maybe even society as a whole on a really good day when the sun is shining merrily in the sky and the car ahead of you unexpectedly buys your iced latte in the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through.
We all have good days.
But despite that, we’re not quite as content as 13 other countries in the world.
That is, at least according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, which was released this past Monday for International Day of Happiness.
This report prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network tracks which pocket of the world is the happiest out of 155 counties – and the United States ranked 14th, right after Australia.
We’re not quite as unhappy as the Central African Republic, the least happy of the bunch. But it seems we’re not nearly as merry as Norway, which took first place.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network – an international panel of social scientists brought together by the United Nations – based these rankings on one simple question given to people from 2014 to 2016 by Gallup.
Here it is:
Please imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?
Now, keep in mind that we’re not measuring a pure state of mind here. This question provides a host of insights into a country’s economy, overall public health and more.
So it makes sense that the least happy countries were typically war-torn nations besieged with economic challenges (Syria, Rwanda, Liberia, South Sudan and Yemen, to name a few).
And it’s no surprise that Western Europe continues to take over the leaderboard. Here’s a look at the top five:
- Norway (Score 7.54)
- Denmark (Score 7.52)
- Iceland (Score 7.50)
- Switzerland (Score 7.49)
- Finland (Score 7.47)
So am I surprised that we didn’t break the top 10?
Unfortunately, I’m not. The American economy is balanced on the edge of a precipice. For example, our labor-force participation for men is the second worst of the OECD countries. Not to mention a litany of other issues, including our ever-shrinking middle class and a government that isn’t the most trustworthy. Last year, we ranked 28th out of 70 in a list of the World’s Most Reputable Countries. We’re not even the healthiest. According to 2017 Bloomberg’s Global Health Index – the U.S. placed 34th out of 163 countries.
That’s precisely why I’m researching countries for my second passport right now. I love my country – but I’m not blind to its faults, and I want to have a Plan B ready, just in case.
After all, don’t we deserve our chance at the happiest life possible?