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Americans are less happy than they were 10 years ago — and money alone can’t fix it

Published: July 17, 2017
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Happiness has been regarded an unalienable American right from the very moment the nation formed.

Yet, American happiness has fallen over the past decade, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, an annual ranking by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The report ranks 155 countries to find how happy their lives are using a scale of 0-10 on a number of metrics, such as gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.

The US came in at number 14 overall in the ranking in 2017, down one from the previous year. It has never cracked the top 10.

A recent decline in happiness appears even starker when looking to the results of a measure where Americans are asked to envision where they fall on a ladder that rates their “best possible life.”

Americans were first asked that question in 2006, and in 2007 the US had the third-highest happiness results of 23 OECD countries. Today, that response is at its lowest point yet, ranking 19th of 34 OECD countries.


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