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The Happiest Countries in the World 2024

Need a little more joy in your life? Plan a trip to one of the countries ranked as the happiest in the world. The annual World Happiness Report, compiled by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, surveys residents in over 150 countries to determine which nations are the happiest.

The report asks a “nationally representative” sample of people in each country how satisfied they are with their lives lately. Respondents are asked to rate their current lives on a scale of zero to ten, with zero being the unhappiest and ten being the happiest. Six key variables are used to measure happiness in the survey: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and freedom from corruption.

Nordic countries continue to rank as the happiest in the world, with Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden taking the top three spots in the report.

For the first time since the survey began 12 years ago, the U.S. has not ranked in the top 20 happiest countries in the world, falling from a 15th place ranking in 2023 to the 23rd spot in 2024. 

This year’s World Happiness Report focuses on the quality of life at different ages. “In many but not all regions, the young are happier than the old. But in North America happiness has fallen so sharply for the young that they are now less happy than the old,” explains the World Happiness Report. “By contrast, in the transition countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the young are much happier than the old. In Western Europe as a whole happiness is similar at all ages, while elsewhere it tends to decline over the life cycle (with an occasional upturn for the old).”

The World’s Happiest Countries 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

Given the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, it is surprising that Israel ranks as the fifth happiest country. However, the happiness scores are based on a three-year average rating. Additionally, Israel’s most recent happiness survey was conducted before the war began.

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