Today’s Solutions: April 19, 2024

For the seventh consecutive year, Finland basks in the glow of happiness, topping the charts as the world’s happiest country, according to the 2024 World Happiness Report. This annual testament to joy assesses over 140 nations, scrutinizing factors such as social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption. 

Utilizing data from sources including the Gallup World Poll, the report is a collaborative effort involving the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Gallup, and the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre. Released every year in honor of International Day of Happiness on March 20, it serves as a comprehensive guide to global well-being, offering valuable insights into the factors that contribute to a fulfilling life.

The rankings show a continuous pattern: Nordic countries dominate the high echelons. Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden maintain their places, with Norway taking seventh place.

United States: a bit of a dip

While Finland celebrates, the United States must confront a sober truth. It was once a powerhouse of riches but it has fallen to a new low, failing to make the top 20. The United States has dropped dramatically from its prior ranking of 15 to number 23 this year, indicating a troubling trend, particularly among the younger population.

Age matters: happy insights across generations

As we delve deeper into the demographics, we discover insights into happiness across age groups. Lithuania is the happiest place for people under the age of 30, while Denmark is a shining example for those over the age of 60. Surprisingly, the United States does higher among those older in age, highlighting changing happiness patterns.

Loneliness looms: the modern epidemic

In the quest for happiness, a devastating theme emerges: loneliness. Concerns grow, especially in the United States. Millennials are strikingly more affected than previous generations, suffering from nearly double the loneliness of earlier generations. This brings attention to a pressing social issue that requires urgent action.

Israel surprises by placing fifth

In a year marked by conflict, Israel surpasses expectations, finishing fifth despite dealing with the consequences of war. This rating, while surprising, highlights the complexities of the happiness measurement. 

According to the report’s authors, the rankings are based on a three-year average, which may skew the data. (Israel has been in the top ten on the Happiness Report since 2022.) “In the case of cataclysmic events happening during a particular year, their effect on the rankings will depend on when the survey took place and will be muted by the three-year averaging,” the researchers state in the paper. “In the case of the October 7th attack on Israel and the subsequent war between Israel and Hamas, the survey in Palestine took place earlier in the year and the Israel survey after the hostage-taking but before much of the subsequent warfare.”

From heights to depths: Afghanistan and the bottom five

As the research concludes, Afghanistan, which is in upheaval, keeps its status as the world’s unhappiest country. With Afghanistan at the bottom of the list are Congo, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, and Lesotho; all of these countries face a multitude of problems, bringing attention to the huge gaps in global health and well-being, and hopefully spurring change-makers to focus their attention there.

World’s 20 Happiest Countries In 2024

Here is the complete list of the top 20 Happiest Countries:

  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
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