Switzerland has claimed the top spot in a United Nations-backed survey of global happiness, edging out several Northern countries.
The rankings in the “World Happiness Report” issued on Thursday are based on measurements of well-being by experts in fields such as economics, health and psychology. Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada claim the next spots.
It is the third time since 2012 that the assessment has been done. The report says the aim is to show that “well-being and happiness are critical indicators of a nation’s economic and social development, and should be a key aim of policy”.
Among the editors for the report, which is produced by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network, is a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“This report gives evidence on how to achieve societal well-being. It’s not by money alone, but also by fairness, honesty, trust, and good health,” said the adviser, Jeffrey Sachs, an economist who directs Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
According to the report, the average score is 5.1 on a scale of up to ten for people in more than 150 countries who were surveyed by Gallup during the past three years.
It said six key factors explain most of the variations: real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity.
This year’s report for the first time provides data by age, gender and region.