These are the happiest countries in the world in 2024

The World Happiness Report is now available and once again the Nordic countries have the highest scores. The number one country, Finland, has held the top spot for seven consecutive years.

This year’s report is the first to include separate rankings by age group and brings bad news about life satisfaction among young people in some parts of the world.

Happiness has declined so dramatically among young people in North America that they are now less happy than older people. Those low scores helped knock the United States out of the top 20 on the overall list for the first time since the report was first published in 2012.

But the decline of the United States and other countries in the rankings was also due to other nations – especially several in Eastern Europe – making welcome gains in happiness.

The happiest countries

Finland is once again the happiest country in the world.

This is stated in the annual report commemorating the United Nations International Day of Happiness on March 20.

The report is based on global survey data from people in more than 140 countries. Countries are ranked on their happiness based on their average life assessments over the previous three years, in this case from 2021 to 2023. The report is a partnership of Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Center, the Solutions Network of Sustainable Development and an editorial board.

The cool-climate nation of Finland, where the northern lights dance in winter and the summer sun can shine all night, has plenty of ideas when it comes to the right social conditions for happiness.

The survey asks each participant to rate their life as a whole, considering what they value, said John Helliwell, professor emeritus of economics at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics and founding editor of the World Happiness Report.

“And you find that Finland is quite rich in all those things, like wallets being returned if they fall in the street, people helping each other day in and day out, very high-quality and universally distributed health and education opportunities, so that everyone More or less comes out the same through the exit door,” he stated.

He also noted that Finland has happy immigrants, “so it’s something they are willing to share with newcomers.”

The report analyzes six key variables to help explain life evaluations: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

Finland’s Nordic neighbors also scored reliably high, with Denmark (No. 2), Iceland (No. 3) and Sweden (No. 4) in the top five, and Norway (No. 7) comfortably ranking in the top 10. .

Given the war with Hamas, Israel may surprise at No. 5, although the country has been in the top 10 since 2022. The report’s authors note that its ranking is based on a three-year average, which often mutes the effect of “cataclysmic events occurring during a particular year.”

And the timing of the survey obviously influences when there is a crisis. The poll in Israel was carried out after the Hamas attack on October 7, but before much of the war that followed. So while life evaluations fell dramatically, those scores were only a third of the average.

The report, which draws heavily on the Gallup World Poll, also includes a ranking of Palestine at 103, although its statehood is not widely recognized. The survey was carried out in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank before the events of October 7.

The Netherlands (No. 6), Luxembourg (No. 8), Switzerland (No. 9) and Australia (No. 10) complete the top 10.

United States leaves the top 20

The United States (No. 23) and Germany (No. 24) dropped out of the top 20 in part due to an increase in happiness among other countries, especially the Czech Republic (No. 18), Lithuania (No. 19) and Slovenia (No. twenty-one). The United Kingdom ranked 20th.

While Lithuania ranked 19th this year on the overall list, among respondents under 30, it was the number one happiest country in 2024. For those over 60, Lithuania ranked 44th.

In the United States and Canada, the happiness scores of people under 30 were dramatically lower than those of people 60 and older. Among people under 30, the United States ranked 62nd, while for those over 60, it ranked 10th. Canada ranked 58th among young people and 8th among those over 60.

Australia and New Zealand, to a lesser extent, also recorded much lower rankings among young people.

Helliwell said the low scores among young people in those countries are not a matter of less education, lower income or greater poor health.

“It’s what they think about their lives. So it’s a matter of humor,” she said. Helliwell attributes the decline in part to the information consumed by young people in those four primarily English-speaking countries.

“They’re hearing news that makes them unhappy and they may share it and that can make them unhappy too,” he said.

But it’s not all bad news for young people.

“Overall, globally, young people aged 15 to 24 experienced increased life satisfaction between 2006 and 2019, and stable life satisfaction since then,” the report says. “But the panorama varied depending on the region. Youth well-being fell in North America, Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia. In the rest of the world it increased.”

Another positive finding related to young people: The increase in benevolence during the pandemic among all generations was especially pronounced among young people, Helliwell said, and that has endured.

“That’s encouraging. Even though they are not very happy in some countries, they are still capable and willing to perform benevolent acts for others. And that gives you hope for the future.”

The 20 happiest countries in the world in 2024

1. Finland

2. Denmark

3. Iceland

4. Sweden

5.Israel

6. Netherlands

7. Norway

8. Luxembourg

9. Switzerland

10.Australia

11. New Zealand

12.Costa Rica

13.Kuwait

14.Austria

15. Canada

16. Belgium

17. Ireland

18. Czechia

19. Lithuania

20. United Kingdom

At the end of the list

Afghanistan remains the lowest-ranked country in the world for happiness. Lebanon, Lesotho, Sierra Leone and the Congo also ranked last.

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