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US no longer in top 20 of world’s happiest countries and is now behind Kuwait, Lithuania, UAE

todayMarch 20, 2024

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ABC News

The United States has fallen eight spots and is no longer in the top 20 happiest countries in the world, falling behind countries like Canada, Israel, Kuwait, Lithuania and the United Arab Emirates, according to the 2024 World Happiness Report released by Gallup and its partners.

The new report, which was released on Wednesday, shows that the top 10 happiest countries in the world remain largely unchanged compared to the 2023 report, but that there has been a lot of change when it comes to the top 20.

“Costa Rica and Kuwait are both new entrants to the top 20, at positions 12 and 13,” the report states. “The continuing convergence in happiness levels between the two sides of Europe led last year to Czechia and Lithuania being in the top twenty, nearly joined now by Slovenia in 21st place. The new entrants are matched by the departures of the United States and Germany from the top 20, dropping from 15 and 16 last year to 23 and 24 this year.”

The list of the world’s happiest countries no longer includes any of the world’s largest countries.

“In the top ten countries only the Netherlands and Australia have populations over 15 million,” according to the report. “In the whole of the top twenty, only Canada and the United Kingdom have populations over 30 million.”

One of the main reasons for the United States dropping out of the top 20 is the overall unhappiness of younger people, according to the report.

“For the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, happiness has decreased in all age groups, but especially for the young, so much so that the young are now, in 2021-2023, the least happy age group,” according to the new report. “This is a big change from 2006-2010, when the young were happier than those in the midlife groups, and about as happy as those aged 60 and over. For the young, the happiness drop was about three-quarters of a point, and greater for females than males.”

The 2024 World Happiness Report goes on to explain another reason for such a heavy drop is the widespread concern about an “emerging epidemic of loneliness, and about the consequences of loneliness for mental and physical health.”

“Although overall levels of loneliness are not unduly high in global terms, there is a significantly different pattern across the generations,” the report says. “Loneliness is almost twice as high among the Millennials than among those born before 1965. Millennials also feel less socially supported than Boomers in those countries, another place in which these countries look different from the rest of the world. This is despite the fact that actual social connections are much more frequent for Millennials than Boomers, and about as frequent as for Generation X.”

The results are based on self-assessments from people in more than 140 countries who are answering questions regarding their overall satisfaction with their lives. The study also takes into account six key variables which contribute to explaining life evaluations, including GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity and corruption.

Then to help understand the differences seen between countries, they look at six factors: the nation’s healthy life expectancy, economy (GDP per capita), levels of corruption, social support, generosity and freedom.

The top 10 countries overall this year are Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Israel, Netherlands Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Australia.

The countries that fared the worst and were least happy this year are Zambia, Eswatini, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Congo (Kinshasa), Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Lebanon and Afghanistan, which was listed as the least happy by a sizeable margin.

The report, which was published on Wednesday, was released to coincide with the U.N.’s International Day of Happiness which is celebrated on March 20 every year to promote happiness, well-being and a more compassionate world.

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