Want to Be Happy? Try Moving to Finland
Happy are the people of the Nordic nations — happier, in fact, than anyone else in the world. And the overall happiness of a country is almost identical to the happiness of its immigrants.
Those are the main conclusions of the World Happiness Report 2018, released Wednesday. Finland is the happiest country in the world, it found, followed by Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia. Though in a different order, this is the same top 10 as last year, when Norway was No. 1 and Finland was fifth.
这些是周三公布的《2018年世界幸福感报告》(World Happiness Report 2018)的主要结论。该报告发现，芬兰是世界上最幸福的国家，其次是挪威、丹麦、冰岛、瑞士、荷兰、加拿大、新西兰、瑞典和澳大利亚。尽管顺序不同，但与去年的前十名一样，去年挪威排在第1位，芬兰排在第5位。
Burundi and Central African Republic, both consumed by political violence, are the least happy countries for the second year in a row. This year, Central African Republic is slightly happier than Burundi; last year, their order was reversed.
As for the United States, it is 18th out of 156 countries surveyed — down four spots from last year’s report and five from 2016’s, and substantially below most comparably wealthy nations. Though the economy is generally strong and per capita income is high, it ranks poorly on social measures: Life expectancy has declined, suicide rates have risen, the opioid crisis has worsened, inequality has grown and confidence in government has fallen.
“I think there really is a deep and very unsettling signal coming through that U.S. society is in many ways under profound stress, even though the economy by traditional measures is doing fine,” Jeffrey D. Sachs, an editor of the report, said in an interview on Tuesday. “The trends are not good, and the comparative position of the U.S. relative to other high-income countries is nothing short of alarming.”
“我认为，我们真的收到了一个强烈的、非常令人不安的信号：美国社会在许多方面都面临着巨大压力，尽管以传统标准来看，美国的经济状况还不错，”该报告的主编杰弗里·D·萨克斯(Jeffrey D. Sachs)周二在接受采访时说，“各种趋势不佳，与其他高收入国家相比，美国的地位令人担忧。”
The report was produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and edited by three economists: Dr. Sachs, the network’s director and a professor at Columbia University; John F. Helliwell, a senior fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia; and Richard Layard, a director of the Well-Being Program at the London School of Economics’ Center for Economic Performance. It is based on Gallup International surveys conducted from 2015 to 2017, in which thousands of respondents were asked to imagine a ladder with steps numbered 0 to 10 and to say which step they felt they stood on, a ranking known as the Cantril Scale.
该报告由联合国可持续发展解决方案网络(United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network)制作，由三位经济学家编撰，他们分别是：该网络的主任、哥伦比亚大学(Columbia University)的教授萨克斯博士；加拿大高级研究所(Canadian Institute for Advanced Research)的高级研究员、不列颠哥伦比亚大学(University of British Columbia)的荣退教授约翰·F·赫利韦尔(John F. Helliwell)；伦敦经济学院(London School of Economics)经济绩效中心(Center for Economic Performance)幸福项目(Well-Being Program)的主任理查德·莱亚德(Richard Layard)。它是基于盖洛普公司(Gallup)2015年至2017年进行的国际调查，在调查中，成千上万名受访者被要求想像一个从0级到10级的阶梯，并说出他们认为自己站在哪个梯阶上，也就是坎特里尔阶梯量表(Cantril Scale)。
The top 10 countries’ averages ranged from 7.632 for first-place Finland to 7.272 for 10th-place Australia; the United States’ average was 6.886, down from 6.993 last year. At the bottom of the scale, Burundi’s average was 2.905.<纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/>
Compared with a 2008-10 base period, 58 countries became significantly happier, and 59 became significantly less happy. Of the 141 countries that had enough data from both 2008-10 and 2015-17 to measure how their happiness had changed, the United States ranked 107th, with a drop of 0.315 in its average happiness rating.
Explaining why one country is happier than another is a dicey business, but the report cites six significant factors: G.D.P. per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and corruption levels.
Dr. Sachs noted that the happiest countries have very different political philosophies from the United States’. Most of the top 10 are social democracies, which “believe that what makes people happy is solid social support systems, good public services, and even paying a significant amount in taxes for that.”
This year’s report also focused heavily on how migration affects happiness. Most notably, it found that the happiness of a country’s immigrants is almost identical to that of its population at large — indicating, Dr. Helliwell said in an interview, that “people essentially adjust to the average happiness level of the country they’re moving to.”
“The closeness of the two rankings shows that the happiness of immigrants depends predominantly on the quality of life where they now live,” the report’s executive summary said. “Happiness can change, and does change, according to the quality of the society in which people live.”