According to six factors laid out by economic researchers studying the levels of happiness in all countries, Norway is the world's happiest country. This place is where "the human things" matter more than "material riches" despite the country's well-performing gross domestic product contributing to the reduction of poverty -- a source of unhappiness for many countries.
According to Travel and Leisure, citing the 2017 World Happiness Index, 2015's fourth-placed Norway is now on top of the charts looking at polling data from 2014-2016. World Happiness Index Report Lead Author John Helliwell said Norwegians are focused on human connections and would not exchange these connections for existing "frequent and trustworthy relationships between people," a practice not common in many countries.
The authors used six factors in dissecting the idea and level of happiness in these different countries. One is through its GDP, the life expectancy of people where they could enjoy things that make them happy, interaction and social support through family or friends, trust in their government and their feeling of personal freedom and population generosity measured through charity donations.
A better economy enables Norway's GDP to expand and help address its troubles with poverty. The minimal corruption in its government and law enforcement make Norway's government agencies efficient and capable. In a way, the irony of Norway's happiness rooted on statistical "materialism" in the form of economic prosperity does not overshadow its prevalent family-oriented culture.
The United States has the world's highest GDP but its happiness ranking had it out of the top 10 and landing on the 14th spot. According to New York Times, the US gained good strides in per capita income and years of life expectancy. According to Columbia University Economist and co-author of the World Happiness Report Jeffrey Sachs, the US is trading its social capital for material benefits.
Norwegian people have been known to choose their family and non-material things that make them happy and healthy over wealth. Norwegians would even wish only small numbers of tourists visited their fjords and natural tourism spots to ensure the quality of their tourism capital without the trouble of increasing tourist traffic.