The U.S. Declaration of Independence inscribed as a fundamental right “the pursuit of happiness,” but Norway has taken that goal most to heart.

The Scandinavian nation of 5 million, known for its spectacular fjords, reindeer and “Midnight Sun,” ranks No. 1 among 155 countries rated for happiness in a United Nations report out Monday.

It helps that Norway, which moved up from fourth place last year to dethrone Denmark, has oil wealth. That boosted the per person annual income, as measured by economic output, to more than $100,000 — nearly double that of the United States. It also helps that it has a low unemployment rate slightly below the U.S. (4.7%) and low income inequality — the gap between the richest and poor citizens is one-third as large as that in the U.S.

A cold climate also seems to correlate with happiness: The top seven countries all are in northern locations: Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands and Canada, according to the ranking in the fifth annual World Happiness Report…. see more

source: usatoday