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April 23, 2017

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Taiwan ranked the world's 33rd happiest country in the world, third in Asia

TAIPEI -- Taiwan has been ranked as the world's 33rd happiest country in a report that calls on nations to build social trust and equality as the optimal way to improve wellbeing.

According to the World Happiness Report 2017, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) at the United Nations, people in the Nordic countries and Oceania are those most content.

Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden are the top 10 countries.

Germany was ranked 16th, the United Kingdom 19th and France 31st, while the United States was ranked 14th.

In Asia, Singapore was ranked 26th, Thailand 32nd, Malaysia 42nd, Japan 51st, South Korea 56th, Hong Kong 71st, the Philippines 72nd, China 79th, Indonesia 81st, Vietnam 94th, Bhutan 97th, Nepal 99th and India 122nd.

The report is based on an annual survey of 1,000 people in each of the 155 countries polled that simply asks them to rank, on a scale of 0 to 10, whether they are living the life they want to live.

Researchers then use six metrics to interpret the results; gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, healthy life expectancy, support from relatives or friends, charitable giving, freedom to make life choices and perceived level of government and corporate corruption.

"The predominant political discourse in the United States is aimed at raising economic growth, with the goal of restoring the American Dream and the happiness that is supposed to accompany it," wrote Jeffrey Sachs, one of the editors of the report and an economics professor at Columbia University. "But the data show conclusively that this is the wrong approach."

Improving happiness in the U.S. would be much easier to do through social change, the report found.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, were the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report.

South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Central African Republic were at the bottom.

"The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables," said the report, produced with the support of the Ernesto Illy Foundation.

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