Ranking The Happiest Countries In The World In 2024

With Nordic countries coming out on top, what exactly contributes to people’s happiness throughout different life stages?

In 2012, more than a decade ago, the United Nations released the first World Happiness Report. Since then, it has been updated annually.

It comes as no surprise that Finland is at No. 1 again this year. The Nordic country has held this position for seven years in a row. Its neighbors Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden follow close behind.

READ ALSO: Love Is In The Air: Manila Is Named The ‘Most Loving’ Capital City In The World

Traditional buildings by the river in Finland
Finland | Photo by Jussi Grönvall via Pexels

Across Demographics

The study takes into account six key factors that impact happiness: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and the absence of corruption. 

This year, researchers have also delved into happiness across generations. This is the first time they have separated rankings by age group. For those under the age of 30, Lithuania tops the list. Meanwhile, Denmark is the happiest country for those over the age of 60.

For the younger generations, happiness scores in the United States and Canada have dropped at a large rate. The two countries rank No. 62 and No. 58 respectively for people under 30. Meanwhile, those over 60 rank the United States at No. 10 and Canada at No. 8.

River and town in Lithuania
Lithuania | Photo by Agnė Kazakevičienė via Pexels

John Helliwell, a founding editor of the World Happiness Report, told CNN that this could be due to the news that young people are more exposed to, making them unhappy. It’s also much easier to share the news to their peers.

However, the report also showed that there was a spike in benevolence during the worldwide pandemic. While it affected all generations, it was especially pronounced with young people. According to the study, those born since 1980 are “even more likely than earlier generations to help others in need.”

“So that’s encouraging. Despite the fact that in some countries they’re not very happy, they’re still capable of and willing to engage in benevolent acts for others. And that gives you hope for the future,” Helliwell added.

Changing Levels

For the past few years, the top 10 countries remained largely unchanged. However, the top 20 has had some interesting developments.

The United States and Germany have both left the top 20 (now at No. 23 and 24 respectively). This is, in part, due to the rise of happiness in several countries including Czechia (No. 18), Lithuania (No. 19), and Slovenia (No. 21). Costa Rica (No. 12) and Kuwait (No. 13) are also new entrants in the top 20 list.

Ocean bay in Costa Rica
Costa Rica | Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur via Pexels

The Philippines jumped 23 spots since 2023 and now sits at No. 53, making the nation the most improved this year. It’s also the fifth happiest country in Asia.

The study is done through the study participant’s self-assessment. People evaluate their own lives using the Cantril Scale. Using the image of a ladder, they are asked to envision the best possible life for them at 10 and the worst at 0. Following this exercise, they are meant to rank their own current lives based on the scale.

In a New York Times article from last year, Finland’s happiness could also be thought of as contentment. Rather than smiles and cheer, many of the country’s residents owe it to the nation’s welfare system which makes them feel “safe and secure.”

Banner photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich via Pexels.

Order your print copy of this month's LIFESTYLE ASIA Magazine:
Download this month's LIFESTYLE ASIA digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]