Canadians everywhere might want to consider wearing a funky hat and singing Pharrell Williams‘ “Happy” this morning. That’s because we’re happy and we know it and we really want to show it. At least, according to a new report we are.
The 2017 World Happiness Report has just been released and Canada ranked seventh overall out of 155 countries. The annual report, which looks at everything from socio-economic status, health, government bodies and life expectancy, is the fifth of its kind to be published. But here’s the catch: this is actually the lowest we’ve scored since the report came out.
Although Canada has typically fared fifth or sixth on the list, the fact that we’re now a mere seventh isn’t too much of a cause for concern. Because we just have improving countries like Norway to blame; the country jumped from fourth to first this year, followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland rounding out the top five. (We’re beginning to think happiness coincides with coldness here.)
Anyhow, according to the report (which includes economic stats from 2014-16), qualities like “caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance,” catapulted Norway to the top spot. The report notes that money matters, of course, although it isn’t the only deciding factor.
Many African countries had what the report dubs a “happiness deficit,” due to infrastructure, health, unemployment and education challenges, with Central African Republic coming in dead last on the list. Countries rife with war are also at the bottom.
So what’s Canada doing right? According to the report, all of the top 10 countries have high levels of overall “income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust.” Well that certainly sounds like a recipe for happiness to us.
Perhaps a lack of these qualities is why our neighbours to the south, a.k.a. the United States, dropped all the way to 14 this year. With so much uncertainty in the country thanks to the new government and social divides, it’s not that surprising.
“It’s the human things that matter. If the riches make it harder to have frequent and trustworthy relationship between people, is it worth it?” lead author John Helliwell, an economist at the University of British Columbia, said in the report. “The material can stand in the way of the human.”
So there you have it. In order to be happy you should live in a country with a strong sense of community that’s free of war and has a government that’s willing to step in and help where necessary. And if the weather just so happens to be a little more chilly, well that might just work out in your favour, too.