Luxembourg among 20 happiest nations on Earth
(CS) The UN published its second annual World Happiness Report on Monday, with northern Europe topping the ranking and Luxembourg among the top 20 happiest nations on Earth.
The report, published in association with Columbia University's Earth Institute, presents a collection of available data on happiness, evaluating and analysing it. Data is divided into three main types – measures of positive emotions, measures of negative emotions and evaluations of life as a whole.
“Happiness is an aspiration of every human being, and can also be a measure of social progress,” the report states, which aims to raise awareness on how policy making can impact the happiness of a country's residents.
The happiest countries in the world, based on data collected between 2010 and 2012, are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden. The top ten, out of 156 countries included in the study, are completed by Canada, Finland, Austria, Iceland and Australia.
Luxembourg ranks 19th, dropping three places compared to last year, with the US in 17th place and the UK placed 22nd. Luxembourg's neigbours are among the top 30, with Belgium coming 21st, France 25th and Germany 26th.
The bottom five countries are Rwanda, Burundi, Central African Republic, Benin and Togo.
Money doesn't make you happy
However, while Western countries largely dominated the top positions in the ranking, overall happiness appeared to have declined between the period of 2005 to 2007 and 2010 to 2012. Happiness in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as South Asia decreased over that time. Meanwhile, happiness in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Commonwealth of Independent States, East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia grew.
Happiness in the Middle East and North Africa decreased dramatically over the period, which was marked by the Arab Spring and ongoing political conflict and social unrest.
This year's World Happiness Report also put a spotlight on mental illness as a key factor in determining happiness. It also found that happiness often decreases with age to reach its lowest points among people aged 40 to 50, before it then rises again in older age.
Voluntary work also increased happiness, as well as successful relationships. Money meanwhile was not considered a key factor of happiness. For example, in the US and in Germany happiness levels have not increased significantly over the past ten years, despite a general increase in wealth.
For the full World Happiness Report visit unsdsn.org