“Norway has insulated itself from the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies,” said the report, put together by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
The World Happiness Report measures “subjective well-being” – how happy the people are, and why.
It looks at factors including economic strength (measured in GDP per capita), social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption.
Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and and Finland round out the top five, while the Central African Republic came last.
Western Europe and North America dominated the top of table, with the US and UK at 14th and 19th, respectively.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa and those hit by conflict have predictably low scores. Syria placed 152 of 155 countries – Yemen and South Sudan, which are facing impending famine, came in at 146 and 147.
The World Happiness Report was released to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness on 20 March.
8. New Zealand
Least happy countries:
1. Central African Republic
9. South Sudan