The Declaration of Independence said it was Americans’ unalienable right, but according to a new ranking, the people of the United States aren’t doing very well at achieving “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
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Norwegians are ranked number one in happiness and personal freedom, reported Market Watch. A study released by LexisNexis and compiled using data — statistics on life expectancy from the World Bank, civil liberties from Freedom House, a company researching advocacy and democracy, and happiness from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), an organization linked to the United Nations — shows that the European nation had the best all-around score.
The analysis showed that countries with strong rules of law were significantly more capable of achieving life, liberty and happiness for its citizens. The top five nations in this analysis were Norway, Sweden, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, while the United States sat at 19, after the Czech Republic, Japan and France.
A separate ranking featured in the 2017 “World Happiness Report” also had Norway taking the crown, with the United States, again, ranking lower at 14 out of 155 nations polled.
The report showed Norway taking over from the previous winner Denmark, with high numbers in caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance. According to this report, the top four countries (Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland) have averages that are so “close that small changes can re-order the rankings from year to year.”
The report was compiled from a Gallup poll, which polled 1,000 residents from each country.
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The United States “political discourse” is reportedly to blame for the drop in rankings.
“The United States can and should raise happiness by addressing America’s multi-faceted social crisis — rising inequality, corruption, isolation, and distrust — rather than focusing exclusively or even mainly on economic growth, especially since the concrete proposals along these lines would exacerbate rather than ameliorate the deepening social crisis,” the report suggested.