Northern European countries stand atop world happiness report

New York, Dhu-AlQa’dah 3, 1434, Sep 9, 2013, SPA — Denmark and Norway were on top of a United
Nations report measuring well-being and happiness, released Monday and cited by AP.

The report, two weeks before the UN General Assembly, was compiled
for the second time to urge global leaders to include well-being as a
measure of development in the upcoming post-2015 Sustainable
Development Goals.

The ranking compiled by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions
Network used data on GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy, and
factors such as having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make
life choices, generosity and freedom from corruption to quantify
happiness levels.

“There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more
closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves
characterize their well-being,” said Jeffery Sachs, director of the
project. “The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that
the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a
lot about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable
development.”

Other nations topping the list included Switzerland, the
Netherlands and Sweden. The United States ranked 17, behind countries
such as Mexico and Panama.

The least happy counties included Togo, which was on the bottom of
the list, Benin, the Central African Republic and Burundi.

Happiness as a measure of development has gained momentum at the
UN recently, as the organization observed the first International Day
of Happiness in March.

The initiative came as part of a resolution passed in 2012
sponsored by the Kingdom of Bhutan recognizing happiness as a
universal goal and as a guiding principle for public policies. It
said instead of focusing solely on financial issues when public
policy is drafted, happiness also should be taken into account.
–SPA
22:01 LOCAL TIME 19:01 GMT