Happiness ranking puts Belgium on 17 as Norway rules

Norway boasts the happiest citizens in the world. Belgium manages to climb one place to reach 17th spot. That's according to the index published in the World Happiness Report by the United Nations.

The fifth edition of the World Happiness Report puts Norway on first place, a first for the Nordic country, which takes over from Denmark. Denmark has to be content with second place, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland and the Netherlands. Canada is the first country outside Europe, on 7.

Belgium moves one place forward and just manages to keep Luxembourg (18) and the United Kingdom (19) at bay. People living in the Central African Republic are less fortunate: they follow in last place. Burundi, Tanzania, Syria and Rwanda are also situated at the bottom of the table.

"Happiness is both social and personal"

Other conclusions made by researchers: happiness is both social and personal, people in China are not happier than 25 years ago, a large part of Africa is struggling, and happiness has fallen in America.

Researchers took into account six key variables: income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust. The latter was measured by the absence of corruption in business and government.

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