Are you happy?

Good morning everyone,

It's still looking like today and tomorrow will be nice with daytime highs in the mid-teens and mostly sunny skies. It'll be a bit cloudier and slightly cooler the rest of the week, but it's not supposed to rain, so that's good news, right?

The United Nations annual World Happiness Report has named Norway as the world's happiest nation – jumping up from fourth place last year.

This year, Norway jumped past fellow Scandinavians in Denmark to the title and, while doing so, leapfrogged Iceland and Switzerland. The four countries in the Nordic region consistently perform well within the UN's report, which was first produced in 2012.

Despite a tempered political climate in the UK, fuelled by Brexit and talks of the Union breaking up, the country also moved up the report's ranking. It now places the UK in 19th place, up from 23rd last year.

At the lower end of the scale Tanzania, Burundi, and the Central Africa Republic make up the final three places (153-155). Just one place higher is Syria.

The report is produced by creating average scores based on six areas for each country: income, life expectancy, social support, generosity, freedom, and trust.

While the top places of the list have shuffled around, the UN says, the countries that hold the top 10 places remain the same as last year. Of the top four, the authors say they are "clustered so tightly that the differences among them are not statistically significant".

Norway was pushed up the charts despite suffering from "weaker oil prices." The report continues to say that due to the country's decision to produce oil slowly and invest money in its future, it has succeeded in "insulating itself from the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies".

For Denmark, 2017 is a rare occurrence where it is not sat atop of the happiness report. Denmark previously came top in 2013 and 2014, slipped to third in 2015, before returning to first place in 2016.

The UN says "much of Africa is struggling" and there are "considerable inequalities" in African countries. This has increased the amount of unhappiness within the past few years. Only Sierra Leone (106th) and Cameroon (107th) have seen significant improvement in the last decade, it is said.

China (79th) is no happier than it was 25 years ago, the report says. Overall, the countries that have improved the most (from 2005-2007 to 2016-2016) are Nicaragua, Latvia, and Sierra Leone. While Greece, the Central African Republic, and Venezuela have had the biggest happiness drops in recent years.

The report doesn't show an improving story for the US, however, which fell from 13th to 14th in the space of a year. The country was also individually highlighted by the report's editors – John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs – who said: "The USA is a story of reduced happiness". Among those OECD countries ranked, it has fallen from the 3rd happiest country in 2007 to the 14th in

The 10 happiest countries in the world

1. Norway
2. Denmark
3. Iceland
4. Switzerland
5. Finland
6. Netherlands
7. Canada
8. New Zealand
9. Australia
10. Sweden

The 10 unhappiest countries in the world

146. Yemen
147. South Sudan
148. Liberia
149. Guinea
150. Togo
151. Rwanda
152. Syria
153. Tanzania
154. Burundi
155. Central African Republic

So, what do you think? Are Japanese people unhappy? Probably not...51st isn't that low, is it? I can't say anything...Canada is in the top 10...again...hmmm...why am I living in Japan?

Have a great day!


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