Latvians are happy-ish

It will come as no surprise to learn that Latvians are not particularly happy.

According to the World Happiness Report 2017, Latvia is the 54th happiest nation of 155 states surveyed.

The World Happiness Report has been published annually since 2012 on March 20 which is, believe it or not, World Happiness Day.

Latvia's ranking places it between Algeria (53rd) and Moldova (55th) and means it is mid-ranked among the Baltic states as Lithuania is very slightly smilier in 52nd place while Estonia is notably more depressed in 66th slot.

However, comparing figures from 2005-7 to 2014-16 Latvia actually records the second-biggest growth in happiness among all countries, with only Nicaragua beating it.

And continuig to look on the bright side of life, things could be a lot worse, particularly if you live in the bottom ranked country, the Central African Republic, which is virtually suicidal.

The report names Norway, the happiest place on earth, jumping from 4th place in 2016 to 1st place this year, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch of beaming contentment.

"All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance," the United Nations said in publishing the report. 

All of the other countries in the top ten also have high values in all six of the key variables used to explain happiness differences among countries and through time – income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust, with the latter measured by the absence of corruption in business and government.

Here too there has been some shuffling of ranks among closely grouped countries, with this year’s rankings placing Finland in 5th place, followed by the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia and Sweden tied for 9th position.

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