The happiest countries in the world for 2024 have just been revealed

Written by Travel Adventures

It’s been more than 10 years since the first-ever World Happiness Report was released in 2012. Since then, the United Nations has released an annual ranking of the world’s happiest countries – the places where the populations are, on average, more content than in other destinations. In that time, many nations have gone through a multi-year pandemic, natural disasters and wars – but the UN and governments across the globe remain committed to finding out what, exactly, makes people happier so they can develop policies to increase well-being.

This research, released on Monday 20 March 2024 (which is also World Happiness Day), is based on a three-year average of each population’s assessment of their quality of life. It takes into account six key factors that impact happiness: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and the absence of corruption. It also investigates the distribution of happiness within countries (spoiler alert: countries where the “happiness gap” is smaller – where the population has a similar experience of and access to the six factors listed above – tend to be happier overall).

For the first time, the report has also given separate rankings by age group, looking at how happiness ratings may differ for those under the age of 30 (Lithuania tops this list) and over the age of 60 (Denmark is the world’s happiest nation for this subset). The research compares generations, finding that “those born before 1965 are, on average, happier than those born since 1980. Among Millennials, evaluation of one’s own life drops with each year of age, while among Boomers life satisfaction increases with age.”

While this may seem depressing, there is some positivity in the results, too. In analysing the impact of the Covid crisis in people’s attitudes towards life, the study found that the pandemic “led to a worldwide increase in the proportion of people who have helped others in need”, creating a significant increase in generational benevolence – particularly for the “Millennials and Generation Z, who are even more likely than their predecessors to help others in need”.

What is the happiest country in the world?

Once again, Finland has come out on top as the happiest country in the world – for the seventh year running.

Is the UK on the list of the happiest countries?

The UK is not in the top 10 of the happiest countries in the world. It comes in at number 20, dropping one place from its 19th slot in 2023. It follows behind Ireland (17th), Canada (15th), Costa Rica (12th) and New Zealand (11th).

How does the study work?

Below, we talk about lots of the factors that might explain the variation in self-reported happiness between countries globally. The World Happiness Report doesn’t construct its list based on these factors and measures – rather, the people polled provide self-assessments of their own lives by placing themselves on the Cantril Scale. This is basically assessing where you would put yourself on a ladder of self-satisfaction – the top of the ladder, or 10, would be the happiest you can be, while the bottom of the ladder, or 0, would be the least happy you can be.

The World Happiness Report then measures and investigates a number of factors that could correlate with the variations in the average happiness of each country’s population, which we discuss below. While experts explain the results using the six factors stated above, it is important to remember that the ranking itself is based on the answers given by people at the time of questioning, so not necessarily taking into account or mediated by wider cultural, political or societal incidents.

These are the top three happiest countries in the world for 2024

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