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Who's happy, who's not: Norway tops list, US falls

SeattlePI.com Jeffrey SachsJeffrey Sachs
Monday, 20 March 2017 ()

If the riches make it harder to have frequent and trustworthy relationship between people, is it worth it? asked John Helliwell, the lead author of the report and an economist at the University of British Columbia in Canada (ranked No. 7). In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report recommending that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness because it would lead to better policy that affects people's lives. The rankings are based on gross domestic product per person, healthy life expectancy with four factors from global surveys. In those surveys, people give scores from 1 to 10 on how much social support they feel they have if something goes wrong, their freedom to make their own life choices, their sense of how corrupt their society is and how generous they are. Study co-author and economist Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University said in a phone interview from Oslo that the sense of community, so strong in Norway, is deteriorating in the United States. University of Maryland's Carol Graham, who wasn't a study author but did review some chapters, said the report mimics what she sees in the American rural areas, where her research shows poor whites have a deeper lack of hope, which she connects to rises in addictions to painkillers and suicide among that group.
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