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The World’s Happiest Countries for 2024

By Bennett Kleinman
Read time: 5 minutes

Searching for smiles on your next vacation? Luckily, the 2024 World Happiness Report is out, ranking the happiest countries in the world based on six factors to determine an overall quality of living. These include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption. This poll was conducted from 2021 to 2023, and surveyed respondents in over 140 countries who self-analyzed their lives and what made them happy. Find out which countries landed in the top 10 happiest countries in the world — including the country that took the top spot for the seventh year running.

10. Australia

View of Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House
Credit: Sean Bernstein/ Unsplash

Australia is the only country in the Southern Hemisphere to crack the top 10 happiest countries in the world (though its close neighbor New Zealand is just one spot behind). The land “Down Under” is also one of only two countries in the top 10 with a population in excess of 15 million citizens. Interestingly, the survey results from Australians showed a large discrepancy in how older and younger generations viewed their own personal happiness. 

On average, the older Australian population reported being happier than those who are younger. In fact, Australians over 60 are the ninth-happiest group of elders in the world, while Aussies under 30 rank much lower at 19th for their age bracket. This is a common trend throughout other English-speaking countries such as the United States (ranked 23rd overall) and Canada (15th).

9. Switzerland

Homes on sloping hillside in Alps of Switzerland
Credit: Getty Images via Unsplash+

Switzerland is the first of eight European countries to crack the top 10, coming in as the ninth-happiest country in the world. The happiness disparity among Swiss residents by age is relatively even, though individuals between the ages of 30 and 44 found themselves slightly happier than the other age brackets. In 2024, Switzerland dropped one spot from the previous year. This was due to their overall happiness indicator dropping by 0.439 in 2023, which equates to a roughly 6% decrease in national joy. Nonetheless, the Swiss remain much happier than the majority of the world, which may be owed in part to their high GDP per capita.

8. Luxembourg

Tourist waving Luxembourg flag from balcony overlooking city skyline
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The microstate of Luxembourg ranks as the eighth-happiest country in the world. Luxembourgians under 30 are especially content, as they rank as the sixth-happiest group of youths around the globe. (The happiest people 30 or younger live in Lithuania, despite the fact that the country ranks 19th overall.) Luxembourg held steady in the ninth spot from 2023 to 2024, with residents attributing the majority of their happiness (roughly 30%) to the country’s high GDP per capita.

7. Norway

Waterfront buildings in Bergen, Norway, with mountains behind
Credit: George Trumpeter/ Shutterstock

Norway comes in as the world’s seventh-happiest country, beginning a trend of Nordic nations ranking toward the top of the list. In Norway, however, there’s a notable divide between the happiness of the older and younger generations. Norwegians under 30 rank 20th in the world for their age group, while Norwegians above 60 are the third-happiest in that age bracket. This generational divide is a trend seen within other nearby countries such as the United Kingdom (ranked 20th overall), Germany (24th), France (27th), and Spain (36th). That said, Norway’s overall ranking has remained unchanged since last year.

6. The Netherlands

Colorful tulips blooming along canal and bridge in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Credit: Noppasin Wongchum/ Shutterstock

Though the Netherlands found itself dropping from the fifth-happiest country to sixth in the 2024 ranking, it remains one of the happiest countries in the world across the board, no matter the age. People in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are especially content living on Dutch soil, and residents as a whole are proud of the country’s extremely high healthy life expectancy. Other factors that make Dutch people happy include the national GDP per capita and a feeling of having plenty of social support.

5. Israel

Colorful buildings in Jaffa port and Tel Aviv, Israel, skyline in background
Credit: Boris Stroujko/ Shutterstock

Despite Israel ranking as the fifth-happiest country, it’s impossible to ignore the recent terror attacks and subsequent war and humanitarian crisis in Gaza that have devastated the region. In the wake of these events, Israelis reported a drastic decline in their quality of life toward the end of the survey period from 2021 to 2023. (If you took just 2023 results, Israel would rank as the 19th-happiest country in the world.)  Older Israelis above 60 are significantly less happy than Israelis 44 and younger, bucking a trend seen in most Western nations. 

4. Sweden

Swedish flag on boat with colorful buildings seen across river in Stockholm
Credit: f11photo/ iStock

Sweden rose from sixth place last year to rank as the world’s fourth-happiest country in 2024. It’s also one of four Nordic nations to dominate the top spots on this list. While the youth of Sweden are relatively unhappy compared to older Swedes, life is still great overall in this vast northern expanse. Swedes find joy across all six major categories, especially in terms of feeling the freedom to live their lives without oppression.

3. Iceland

Aerial view of Reykjavik, Iceland, with mountains and bay in background
Credit: Tsuguliev/ Shutterstock

Located off the Atlantic coast of Europe, the island nation of Iceland comes in at number three on the 2024 list — just like it did the year prior. Iceland saw the 30th-largest increase in terms of happiness from year to year, though that still wasn’t enough to propel it up into the number-two spot. Icelanders young and old expressed happiness across the board, noting that they feel freedom to make life choices in a way that other countries do not.

2. Denmark

Aerial view of Copenhagen, Denmark
Credit: Sergii Figurnyi/ Shutterstock

Though it ranks at number two overall, Denmark holds the top spot in terms of happiness for residents 60 and older. The Danes offer yet another example of the high quality of life found across Northern Europe. Denmark has one of the highest GDPs per capita of any country in the world, and residents also expect to live a long life devoid of oppression and corruption. However, there’s been a modest downturn in overall happiness throughout the country, thus preventing Denmark from taking the number one spot.

1. Finland

Aerial view of Helsinki, Finland, skyline
Credit: scanrail/ iStock

For the seventh straight year, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world. John Helliwell, a founding member of the World Happiness Report, points to cultural norms in Finland such as wallets being returned if they’re dropped in the street as well as universally distributed health and education opportunities contributing to Finland’s overall happiness. People between the ages of 30 and 60 are especially content, as Finns rank at the top in both of those age groups. Finland’s total happiness score is 7.741 out of 10, which is more than six points higher than the lowest country on the list, Afghanistan, which ranks 143rd at just 1.721.

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