April 20, 2024

Did you know that Finland is the world’s happiest country?

2024 World Happiness Report is unveiled

The latest edition of the World Happiness Report has comprehensively analysed global happiness trends across different age groups and generations.

Released on the UN’s International Day of Happiness on March 20, 204, the report – encompassing responses from over 140 nations – draws from data collected by the Gallup World Poll and is analysed by leading well-being scientists.

According to the report’s overall rankings, Finland remains the world’s happiest country for the seventh consecutive year. Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Israel are in second, third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.

Noteworthy shifts are observed elsewhere, with Serbia and Bulgaria showing significant increases in average life evaluation scores since 2013, propelling them up the rankings by 69 and 63, respectively.

Further, Latvia and Congo (Brazzaville) have also made remarkable strides, climbing 44 and 40 places between 2013 and 2024.

USA downgraded

However, unlike Finland, the United States of America has dropped out of the top 20 for the first time, primarily influenced by a decline in the well-being of its younger population.

Interestingly, the report provides separate rankings by age group, revealing variations from the overall rankings.

Lithuania emerges as the top-ranked nation for children and young people under 30, while Denmark is the world’s happiest nation for those aged 60 and older.

A notable finding is the disparity in happiness between generations, with individuals born before 1965 reporting higher happiness levels than those born since 1980. Life satisfaction decreases with age among Millennials and increases among Baby Boomers.

The United States has dropped out of the top 20 for the first time. Credit: Arnold Pinto

The rankings are based on a three-year average of each population’s assessment of their quality of life, with experts from various fields, including economics, psychology, and sociology, offering insights into the variations across countries and over time.

This analysis considers factors such as GDP, life expectancy, social support, freedom, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.

Data’s significance

Commenting on the report, Prof John F. Helliwell, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Vancouver School of Economics, highlighted the significance of the Gallup World Poll data in understanding age and generational patterns for happiness.

Jon Clifton, CEO of Gallup, stressed the report’s role in informing evidence-based policymaking worldwide.

In addition to national rankings, the report delves into happiness across different age groups, with observations indicating a narrowing gap in life satisfaction between young people and older adults in Europe and North America.

However, there has been a decline in well-being among 15- to 24-year-olds in several regions since 2019.

Furthermore, the report illuminates the relationship between well-being and dementia, underscoring the impact of higher well-being in reducing the risk of developing the disease in later life. Insights from an extensive survey in India reveal an association between increasing age and higher life satisfaction among older adults despite challenges posed by the caste system.

Prof Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Director of Oxford’s Wellbeing Research Centre, said the urgency of policy action to address declines in wellbeing among children and adolescents, particularly in North America and Western Europe.

The World Happiness Report, a collaboration between Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the WHR’s Editorial Board, aims to provide evidence-based insights into global happiness trends, inform policymaking, and foster wellbeing worldwide.

Featured image: Finland tops the World Happiness Report ranking for the seventh year. Credit: Tapio Haaja

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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