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: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and 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.

Read more at World Happiness Report

Interested in how we can apply these findings to the rest of the world? So are we. That’s why we’re spearheading the Norway Quality of Life project, an investigation by the Evolution Institute to understand what makes Norway a successful society, ranking #1 in the UN Human Development Index for 12 of the last 15 years, and what lessons we can take away  to improve our own society and those societies that live in our shadow.  

Published On: March 29, 2017

Ashle Bailey-Gilreath

Ashle Bailey-Gilreath

Ashle has worked in the non-profit sector both in the US and UK for over 6 years, in addition to her role as research assistant for the University of Oxford and Queen’s University Belfast. She holds an MA in Cognition and Culture and an MA in nonprofit management, with an emphasis on cultural institutions. She is a regular contributor to Learning & the Brain.

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