Israel ranked the world's 11th happiest country

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The Palestinian Territories ranked 103 in this year's report

Israel has been ranked the world's 11th happiest country for the fourth year in a row, edged out of the top-ten by the likes of Norway, Switzerland, and Canada, but placing comfortably ahead of the United States which slipped to 14, according to the United Nations' 2017 World Happiness Report published Monday.

The report, which was released to coincide with the UN's International Day of Happiness, uses happiness levels to quantify social progress and direct the goals of public policy.

It is the fifth such report since the first was published in 2012. Israel has climbed in the rankings from 2012, when it placed 14th, and has remained at 11 each year since then.

The Palestinian Territories ranked 103 in this year's report.

The report named Norway the world's happiest country, after surging from fourth place in last year's UN assessment. Other top countries on the list included Nordic neighbors Denmark and Iceland, as well as Switzerland.

Christof STACHE (AFP/File)

The report found that "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."

Rounding out the top 10 were Finland, in fifth place, The Netherlands (6), Canada (7), New Zealand (8) and Australia and Sweden tied for 9th.

All in the top 10 were affluent, developed nations, though the report said that money was not the only ingredient for happiness.

In fact, among the wealthier countries the differences in happiness levels had a lot to do with "differences in mental health, physical health and personal relationships: the biggest single source of misery is mental illness," the report said.

"Income differences matter more in poorer countries, but even their mental illness is a major source of misery," it added.

Bryan R. Smith (AFP)

The United States slipped to number 14 because of less social support and greater corruption -- the very factors explaining why Nordic countries fare better on the happiness scale.

While the 10 countries at the top remained the same as in a 2016 update, those in the bottom 10, which had the lowest life evaluations, showed greater variation.

The Central African Republic, which returned to the surveyed group, came in dead last at 155, with Burundi and Tanzania doing only slightly better.

Among the 20 largest losers, five were in the Middle East and North Africa and five were in sub-Saharan Africa.

(Staff with AFP)

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