Norway Is Officially The World's Happiest Country

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You might assume the happiest places on the planet are also the warmest.

But, as it turns out, paradise does not necessarily involve tropical beaches with sparkling sand and crystal clear water.

If you want to go to the happiest place on Earth, put away your flip-flops and pack your parka and skis.

Norway is officially the world's happiest country, according to the latest World Happiness Report, which was released Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.

The report, which comes out each year on International Happiness Day and ranks 155 countries on their happiness and well-being, actually shows a number of the happiest countries also happen to be among those known for having fairly cold climates.

These are top 10 happiest countries in 2016:

1. Norway

2. Denmark

3. Iceland

4. Switzerland

5. Finland

6. Netherlands

7. Canada

8. New Zealand

9. Australia

10. Sweden

It looks like Scandinavia might be the place to be if you're really looking for happiness.

According to the report,

All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance...

When it comes to Norway, the report added,

Norway moves to the top of the ranking despite weaker oil prices. It is sometimes said that Norway achieves and maintains its high happiness not because of its oil wealth, but in spite of it. By choosing to produce its oil slowly, and investing the proceeds for the future rather than spending them in the present, Norway has insulated itself from the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies. To do this successfully requires high levels of mutual trust, shared purpose, generosity and good governance, all factors that help to keep Norway and other top countries where they are in the happiness rankings.

So, it seems a sense of community is essential to building happiness within a country.

Meanwhile, people in the US were less happy in 2016.

America dropped a spot from last year and was ranked number 14.

The US has actually never been in the top 10 happiest countries since the first World Happiness Report was published in 2012.

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Given the tough year America had politically, and the fact it was very divided as a consequence of the US presidential campaign, it's not shocking people in the US were less happy in 2016.

The 10 least happy countries in 2016 were:

1. Central African Republic

2. Burundi

3. Tanzania

4. Syria

5. Rwanda

6. Togo

7. Guinea

8. Liberia

9. South Sudan

10. Yemen

Many of these countries suffer from war, poverty, famine and other issues.

So sadly, it's not all that surprising to see these places ranked as the least happy countries on the planet.

Let's hope the world can do more to come together and help these countries in the coming year.

Citations: WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT 2017 (World Happiness Report)