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World’s happiest countries for 2024 revealed – as US drops out of top 20

Lifestyle Edit

Finland held on to its top ranking as the world’s happiest country for the seventh year while the US and Germany dropped out of the top 20, according to an annual UN-sponsored index.

The World Happiness Report published on Wednesday is the first to include separate rankings by age group and shows low happiness scores from young people in some parts of the world.

Young people in North America were not as happy as the elderly, which is one of the key reasons that helped push the US out of the top 20 for the first time since the report was first published in 2012.

However, the US and other countries dropped in rank also because other nations, particularly several in Eastern Europe, saw gains on the happiness score.

The report, published on the United Nations International Day of Happiness on 20 March, draws on global survey data from more than 140 countries. Nations are ranked on happiness based on their average life evaluations over three preceding years, which in this case is 2021 to 2023.

Afghanistan stayed as the world’s lowest-ranked country for happiness at 143. Lebanon, Lesotho, Sierra Leone and Congo were also ranked at the bottom.

The report looks at six key variables to score life satisfaction: GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and perceptions of corruption.

Finland, along with its Nordic neighbours, are all ranked at the top – Denmark at 2, Iceland at 3, and Norway at 7.

Finland, along with its Nordic neighbours, are all ranked at the top.

(Getty Images)

Israel is surprisingly at 5, amid its ongoing war on Hamas in Gaza. However, the authors do point out that the three-year average of the rankings often mutes the effect of “cataclysmic events happening during a particular year”.

The survey, which was conducted in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank before the events of 7 October, ranks the Palestinian happiness score at 103.

The Netherlands at 6, Luxembourg at 8, Switzerland at 9, and Australia at 10 round out the top 10.

The US at 23 and Germany at 24 dropped out of the top 20 partly because of a rise in happiness scores in countries like Czechia at 18, Lithuania at 19, and Slovenia at 21. The UK is at 20.

On the other hand, Costa Rica and Kuwait entered the top 20 at 12 and 13. India ranked 126, the same…

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