As much as Disney Land would like to claim the spot as the happiest place on Earth, that award actually goes to Norway. Every year, the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network ranks countries by six factors: levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and corruption.
And in 2017, Norway beat out Denmark for first place, followed by Iceland and Switzerland, which were ranked as the third and fourth happiest countries to live in. The US was ranked 19th, compared to third in 2007.
Ten years ago, people in the United States were much happier. Why are Norwegian citizens so much happier than Americans?
Whoever said money doesn't make you happy wasn't necessarily true. The more money you have, the less you need to stress about about the daily needs of life. While Norway doesn't technically have a minimum wage, the average citizen can expect to be paid $16 to $20 dollars depending on age.
Norway also has the eight highest GDP per capita in the world.
2. Community-Driven Society
Norway is a more community-driven society than the US. The phrase "every man for himself" doesn't apply in Norway. While this type of community can be seen around the US, like in small farm communities or singular neighborhoods in larger cities, this behavior is seen more in Norway than in the US.
3. Social Services
Healthcare and education are free. When people don't have to worry about costs when they are sick or hurting, they tend to be happier and less stressed. The same goes for when you know you can be educated and can have a fair career path, regardless of social status or income.
While there may be small fees here and there, health and education are much less costly than in the US.
4. Colder Weather
This reason sounds strange and contradictory to happiness, but with the cold weather comes the need for more community support. Time magazine suggests cold weather makes people happier in the long run, because survival requires "greater mutual support — 'There is a view which suggests that historically communities that lived in harsher weather were brought together by greater mutual support.' — Dr. John Helliwell.”
The Norwegians also don't seem to mind the frigid cold, hence the saying 'Det er ikke noe som heter dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær,' which means 'There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.'
5. Personal Freedom
The freedom to be whatever religion, sex, race, or anything you are and be tolerated for it is extremely liberating. While in the US we can be whoever we are, we are still working on the tolerance levels.