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Finland Tops Happiness Rankings For 7th Year, Afghanistan Ranks Last

The World Happiness Report

The World Happiness Report is an annual survey conducted by the United Nations. It ranks countries based on factors like life satisfaction, GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption.

For the seventh year in a row, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world. Other Nordic countries like Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden also ranked among the top 10 happiest nations.

World’s 10 Happiest Countries in 2024

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

Afghanistan Remains the Unhappiest Country

At the bottom of the list is Afghanistan, which has been plagued by a humanitarian crisis since the Taliban regained control in 2020.

Notable Changes in Rankings

  • The United States and Germany dropped out of the top 20 happiest countries for the first time, ranking 23rd and 24th, respectively.
  • Costa Rica and Kuwait entered the top 20 at positions 12 and 13.
  • The report noted that the happiest countries no longer include any of the world’s largest countries.

India’s Ranking and Factors Affecting Life Satisfaction

  • India ranked 126 in the happiness index, the same as the previous year.
  • Factors like marital statussocial engagement, and physical health also influence life satisfaction among older Indians.
  • Satisfaction with living arrangements emerges as a critical factor, reflecting the strong desire among older Indians to age in place and maintain autonomy and social bonds.

India has the second-largest older population globally, with 140 million individuals aged 60 and above, trailing only China. The report said that older Indian men, particularly those in higher age brackets, presently married, and those with an education, tend to report greater life satisfaction compared to their counterparts.

Among older Indians, factors such as dissatisfaction with living arrangements, perceived discrimination, and poor self-rated health are linked to lower life satisfaction. Education level, social caste, and contentment with living arrangements also play a significant role in life satisfaction.

Happiness Trends

  • The sharpest decline in happiness since 2006-10 was observed in AfghanistanLebanon, and Jordan.
  • The biggest increases in happiness were reported in the Eastern European countries of SerbiaBulgaria, and Latvia.
  • Happiness inequality increased in every region except Europe, which the report described as a “worrying trend”.

Factors Contributing to Finland’s Happiness

According to a happiness researcher from the University of Helsinki, some key factors contributing to Finland’s happiness include:

  • Close connection to nature
  • Healthy work-life balance
  • Attainable understanding of success (not solely focused on financial gain)
  • Strong welfare society
  • Trust in state authorities
  • Low levels of corruption
  • Free healthcare and education

Generational Differences in Happiness

The report found that younger generations were happier than their older peers in most regions of the world, except for:

  • North America
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

In these regions, happiness among groups under 30 has dropped dramatically since 2006-10, with older generations now happier than the young.

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