World Happiness Report Releases 2024 List of “Happiest Countries in the World” and Finland Is #1 Again

Finnish boy with Finland flags on a nice winter day. Nordic Scandinavian people.

Photo: ASphoto777/Depositphotos

On a daily basis, we often find ourselves holding onto happiness. These moments inspire a positive posture that is infectious, in the best way. But, have you ever stopped to think about what happiness means to you? Happiness can be defined in many different ways, which is why there are several factors that are considered when determining the happiest countries in the world, as the World Happiness Report has been doing every year since 2012. The report—a partnership of Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the WHR’s Editorial Board—has just recently released its report for 2024 and the results are fascinating.

Taking six main factors into consideration—levels of GDP (income), life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and corruption—it turns out that Finland has once again earned the number one spot. This is the seventh consecutive year the nation has outranked all 140 countries that were considered in this report. Denmark came in second, Iceland is third, and Sweden is fourth. All of these Nordic countries have a particular focus on an appreciation of nature. Spending more time in natural environments and less work-induced stress are the perfect recipe to increased happiness. As a surprise to some, given the war and civil unrest in the country, Israel ranked within the top five. Anat Fanti, a researcher at Bar-Ilan University reported in The Jerusalem Post, “Even this year, which was one of the most difficult in the country’s history, Israel ranked in the top five of the International Happiness Index.” Fanti highlights the importance of happiness and how traumatic events can influence this rating.

Ranking at number six and seven are the Netherlands and Norway, respectively. The Dutch art of doing nothing (niksen) and access to healthcare in the Scandinavian nation of Norway deeply influence a sense of happiness. According to psychologist Ragnhild Bang Nes, affordable education and a healthy sense of work-life boundaries dramatically makes a positive impact on the quality of everyday life. Luxembourg and Switzerland are next on the list. Outside of financial stability, these countries value quality time spent in nature. Rounding out the top 10 countries on the list is Australia. The serene beaches, variety of wildlife and intense sunlight are contributing factors to this ranking. With a population of nearly 26 million people, Australia is beautifully positioned to continue increasing happiness of the people who call that nation home.

Surprisingly, the United States dropped to the 23rd spot, eight spots lower than the previous year. This marks the first time the U.S. has ranked outside of the top 20. It is reported that this drop is due in large part to the unhappiness of American youths. This falls in line with an interesting observation that finds those of older generations had a higher report of happiness, while young adults reported lower levels of happiness. The whole report dives deeper into the data based on different factors. This year, the World Happiness Report also has a new chapter on the world's biggest population: India.

Though every nation is different, one thing is for certain: happiness is important to people all around the world. Regardless of location or language, there is a unifying factor to that warm feeling in your heart when you are filled with joy.

The World Happiness Report has unveiled the “happiest country in the world” for 2024 and Finland has maintained its number one ranking for the seventh consecutive year.


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The report ranks 140 countries based on six key factors: levels of GDP (income), life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and corruption.

The World Happiness Report also looks at happiness based on age.

This year, the report has also taken a look at the nation with the largest population: India.

Watch Professor John F. Helliwell, founding editor of the World Happiness Report, share his insights on the 2024 data, including the country rankings.

World Happiness Report: Website | X

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Mia Santarelli

Mia Santarelli is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in eastern Kansas, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Italian Language Studies from the University of Kansas and received an MA in Art History from the Savannah College of Art & Design. Visual storytelling mediums such as photography and film inspire her to capture her own snapshots of the most unexpectedly beautiful places throughout her travels. She also has a passion for learning languages, fueling her desire to learn more about different cultures.
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