Canada fifth happiest nation in the world: UN report
Are you happy living in Canada? Apparently, you should be.
Canada was deemed the fifth happiest nation in the world. We're not quite as happy as the Northern Europeans but we're up there. And we're tops when it comes to North America, beating our neighbours to the south.
Denmark led the world, followed by Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, and Canada.
New Zealand and Australia came in eighth and ninth. Ireland was number 10 while the U.K. was number 18. The United States ranked number 11.
At the bottom of the list were Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Benin, and Togo.
The United Nations survey called the World Happiness Report was edited by UBC Economics professor emeritus John Helliwell, Action for Happiness founder Richard Layard, and Earth Institute director Jeffrey D. Sachs. The report drew from the Gallup World Poll, the World Values Survey, the European Values Survey, and the European Social Survey.
While wealthy nations generally came out favourably, the study, which was tabled at a UN meeting on April 2, emphasizes that economics are not necessarily proportional to overall life satisfaction.
Sachs points out how Gross National Product does not determine happiness. "While higher income may raise happiness to some extent," Sachs states in the report, "the quest for higher income may actually reduce one's happiness." Sachs cites disorders among the affluent such as obesity, eating disorders, addictions, adult-onset diabetes, psychosocial problems, and more.
As a prime example, Sachs points out that the United States "has achieved striking economic and technological progress over the past half century without gains in the self-reported happiness of the citizenry". In spite of increased Gross National Product, he notes that life satisfaction in the U.S. has remained immutable for the past 50 years.
He adds that high-income earners are having a negative impact on the poor.
"It is telling that in much of the rich world, affluent populations are so separated from those they are imperiling that there is little recognition, practical or moral, of the adverse spillovers (or 'externalities') from their own behaviour."
Sachs notes that in the Anthropecene (a newly coined term to denote the epoch in which humanity has become the most influential force in changes to Earth's physical systems), adopting environmentally lifestyles and technologies that improve life satisfaction while protecting life support systems is paramount.
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