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20th Mar 2024

The world’s happiest countries have been revealed

Nina McLaughlin

It’s not a surprise who came first

The world’s happiest and unhappiest countries in 2024 have been revealed.

The UN-backed World Happiness Report comes out every year, and takes into account everything from individual reports to wider economic and social data.

It gives countries a score out of 10, with zero being the lowest score.

In news that will be a surprise to no one, the top three are all Nordic countries.

Finland came out on top for the seventh year running with 7.74, with Denmark and Iceland coming second and third respectively.

The UK came in a rather dismal 20th place with a score of 6.74.

Good news, though, as we still beat the USA, which came in 23rd with 6.72 as their score. This marks the first time America has fallen out of the top 20 since the report’s inception, with researchers pinning this decline on young people’s wellbeing worsening.

Ireland beat out both the UK and US with a score of 6.8 coming in at 17th on the list, marking a fall for two years on the run from being 13th back in 2022.

For the UK, young people are the 32nd happiest in the world, with younger middle-aged people being the 27th happiest and older middle-aged people being 19th happiest in the world. For older people, the UK is the 20th happiest place on Earth.

People born prior to 1965 are generally happier than those born after 1980, with millennials’ happiness having dropped every year.

Editor of the report and economics and behavioural science expert Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve said: “Piecing together the available data on the wellbeing of children and adolescents around the world, we documented disconcerting drops especially in North America and Western Europe.

“To think that, in some parts of the world, children are already experiencing the equivalent of a mid-life crisis demands immediate policy action.”

Rounding out the bottom of the list were Lesotho and Lebanon, with Afghanistan in final place, coming out 143th.

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Image credit: Ninara/Flickr