U.S. 14th, Canada 7th, in ranking or world's happiest countries

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It's become clear that both social and economic factors are at play in determining people's happiness, so it's no wonder that Norway won the top slot on the 2017 World Happiness Report, released Monday, up from fourth place past year. Six broad categories contribute to a country's rank, including per capita gross domestic product (GDP), social support, freedom to make life choices, healthy life expectancy, generosity and trust.

Scandinavian countries dominated the top, with Norway, Denmark and Iceland heading up the rankings, while Finland was placed fifth and Sweden came in 10th.

Not surprisingly, countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries - with the Central African Republic finishing dead last.

Even though the report takes in both economic and social factors, in the case of United States, happiness is falling, primarily due to social causes rather than economic. However, as far as its global position is concerned, Singaporeans are a slightly unhappier lot than they were a year ago.

The U.N.'s "World Happiness Report" launched just in time for International Day of Happiness on March 20, a U.N. holiday established in 2012 and celebrated around the world today. Although, the victor, Norway, was placed 4th in the 2016 rankings while now second-placed Denmark occupied the first position.

Rankings are created using the average of three years of surveys. In fact, among the wealthier countries the differences in happiness levels had a lot to do with "differences in mental health, physical health and personal relationships: the biggest single source of misery is mental illness", the report said.

This latest ranking put Malaysia up five places from last year's report.

We may be celebrating various "victories" in our cities for different reasons, but as a whole, India has been listed as one of the unhappiest countries in the world.

The 2017 report asserts that all top-ranking countries share similar attributes, including "caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance". "America's crisis is, in short, a social crisis, not an economic crisis", Sachs, who is also a Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General, concluded. What differentiates these countries is the strong sense of community which reflects among the people making these countries a better place to live in. "I want governments to measure this, discuss it, analyze it and understand when they have been off on the wrong direction", he says.

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