Switzerland drops to fifth in global happiness ranking

In 2015, the Alpine nation won first place in the ranking, but subsequently dropped to second in 2016 and fourth previous year.

The World Happiness Report, released on Wednesday, ranked 156 countries based on factors including life expectancy, social support and corruption.

Finland has been declared the happiest country in the world in the latest United Nations rankings, beating out its Nordic neighbors to take the top spot.

Interestingly, unlike past years, this year's report also evaluated 117 countries based on the happiness and well-being of their immigrants as well as the happiness of their own citizens. Finns love hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and alpine skiing at Koli National Park, shown here.

We cover the report every year, because, happiness. also because the report is intended as a tool to help create positive public policy, including policy directed at helping the planet. There is a new top ranking country, Finland, but the top ten positions are held by the same countries as in the last two years, although with some swapping of places.

It's worth noting that the U.S. has never been in the top ten of the index, even though the country is actually richer now than it was previous year. Aside from some minor shuffling, those countries all placed highly previous year as well. Bergen, shown here, is Norway's second largest city and was founded more than 900 years ago. "You could also say that Finland is the least unhappy country in the world", he said.

He said that although immigrants move from countries with varying levels of happiness, in their new homes their happiness levels become similar to those born locally.

Meanwhile, the greatest human migration in history - the hundreds of millions of people who have moved from the Chinese countryside into cities - has not advanced happiness at all, the report found. The United States fell to 18th place from 14th a year ago.

John Helliwell, an economist at the University of British Columbia and one of the report's co-editors, said there were many similarities between countries in the top ten. According to development economist Jeffrey Sachs, the United States regression is due to rising phenomena of obesity, drug use and untreated depressions.

Other major world powers placed in significantly low spots on the list. 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.

And coming from fifth place on last year's table, this year's victor is...

Topping the list of least happy countries are Burundi, Central African Republic and South Sudan, where political turmoil exists, incomes are low and access to health care is hard.

Vanessa Coleman