Kenyans ranked 13th happiest people in Africa

However, 80 percent of the variance of happiness across the world is said to occur within countries.

Norway has overtaken Denmark as the happiest country on earth, according to the United Nations World Happiness Report published Monday.

A deeper analysis of China shows that while its GDP multiplied over five-fold over the past quarter century, subjective well-being over the same period fell for 15 years before starting a recovery process.

The top ten countries this year were Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Holland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.

The US dropped one spot, to 14, due to "inequality, distrust and corruption, and economic measures" which Sachs said could be exacerbated by President Donald Trump's economic policies.

Self-employment has its pros and cons. Thus, it paints a picture of the developemnt of each country and its people. However, they are also more likely to experience negative feelings such as stress and worry. Second, a forthright attack on the real sources of social crisis would have a much larger and more rapid beneficial effect on US happiness.

The report considers several factors that contribute to happiness and well-being in everyday life.

In a section of the report titled "Restoring America's Happiness", Sachs looks back at the state of happiness in the US over the past 10 years.

CTV News reports that if there is one thing that explains the difference in happiness ratings between Norway and the USA, that single factor would be a sense of community.

Despite improvement in income and life expectancy, the report attributes America's ranking to its focus on raising economic growth in a negative political climate.

People who have partners, solid relationships with extended family or simply someone to count on are much happier than those who do not.

Despite recent declines in oil prices, oil-rich Norway still moved into the top spot, illustrating once more that high happiness depends on much more than income, it said. While backgrounds are often overlooked, they too play a major part in determining overall life satisfaction. "All of these are found in Norway, as well as in the other top countries". Some of the wealthiest people in the world are college dropouts, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. But 82 percent of divorced people also describe themselves as happy.

Among factors making Africans unhappy are lack of jobs, minimal access to health care, and high levels of corruption, the report notes. Work is also a major factor affecting happiness, with unemployment causing a significiant fall in happiness, and even for those in employment the quality of work can cause major variations in happiness.

Authors of the report stressed that the northern European countries were tops in the world not exclusively because of strong economics, but because their residents responded positively to questions about trusting others and believing that friends and relatives would help them in times of need.

  • Carolyn Briggs