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Losing Ground in the “Happiness Rankings”

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The Sustainable Development Solutions network, an initiative of the UN, is out with its yearly “World Happiness Report,” in which respondents around the globe were asked how close their current circumstances came to their “best possible life.”

The United States placed 14th of the 155 surveyed nations—well ahead of Germany, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom, but behind Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and Israel. The U.S. has been sinking in the rankings since they began in 2012, and when America finished 11th. In terms of specific measures of happiness, the U.S. has moved up in health, life-expectancy and per-capita income, but we’ve lost significant ground in social support, a sense of personal freedom, and perceived corruption of government and business.

The Happiness Report hardly shows American “carnage,” or a national utopia, but it does reflect the worrisome conviction that our political and economic institutions now slow our progress and undermine sense of well-being.

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