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World Happiness Report 2024: Shifts in Rankings Highlight Eastern Europe’s Rise

The recently released World Happiness Report for 2024 unveiled significant shifts in global happiness rankings, with the top 10 countries remaining consistent since before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, notable changes include the United States and Germany’s decline in rankings, paving the way for several Eastern European nations to ascend on the list.

As anticipated, Finland maintained its reign at the top spot for the seventh consecutive year, followed closely by Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden. Israel also secured a position in the top five rankings. Conversely, Afghanistan was identified as the least happy country, preceded by Congo, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, and Lebanon.

The United States experienced a decline in its ranking, slipping from 16th place last year to 23rd this year. Canada claimed the 15th spot, while the UK stood at 20th, Germany at 24th, and France at 27th. Among Middle Eastern nations, the UAE secured the 22nd spot, with Saudi Arabia following at 28th. In Asia, Singapore ranked 30th, Japan 50th, and South Korea 51st.

India landed at 126th place, while China ranked 60th, Nepal 93rd, Pakistan 108th, Myanmar 118th, Sri Lanka 128th, and Bangladesh 129th. Sri Lanka observed a slight decrease in ranking compared to 2022.

The report highlighted that in India, older age correlated with higher life satisfaction, although older Indian women reported lower satisfaction levels than their male counterparts. Education and caste were identified as significant factors, with older adults holding secondary or higher education and those from higher social castes reporting greater life satisfaction.

Globally, women consistently reported lower happiness levels than men across all regions, with the gender disparity widening with age.

In terms of happiness among different age groups, Lithuania, Israel, Serbia, Iceland, and Denmark secured the top five slots for individuals aged 30 and below, with Finland dropping to the seventh rank. India ranked 127th in this category.

Conversely, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland dominated the rankings for individuals aged 60 and above, with India occupying the 121st spot. The report noted that countries with high rankings for older populations often included those with high overall happiness scores but also encompassed nations where the youth faced challenges.

The World Happiness Report, published annually by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, evaluates happiness based on six variables, including GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and absence of corruption. The rankings are derived from Gallup polls conducted between 2021 and 2023.

Top 10 Happiness Rankings (Worldwide):

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Sweden
  5. Israel
  6. Netherlands
  7. Norway
  8. Luxembourg
  9. Switzerland
  10. Australia

Top 10 Happiness Rankings (Asia):

  1. Singapore
  2. Taiwan
  3. Japan
  4. South Korea
  5. Philippines
  6. Vietnam
  7. Thailand
  8. Malaysia
  9. China
  10. Mongolia
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