Australia one of the world’s happiest countries

Australia has been named the 10th happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report 2024.

The report leverages six key factors to explain variation in self-reported levels of happiness across the world: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption. 

Finland has once again topped the list as the happiest country in the world, while Australia moved up from 12th spot last year.

New Zealand came in 11th this year, while the US has fallen out of the top 20 for the first time since the World Happiness Report was first published in 2012.

The US ranked 23rd, driven by a large drop in the wellbeing of Americans under 30. 

Afghanistan remains bottom of the overall rankings as the world’s ‘unhappiest’ nation.

In Australia, New Zealand and North America, the report showed life evaluation was lowest among the young, rising gradually with age to be highest among the old.

On the list of the happiest countries according to young people, aged 15 to 24, Australia ranked 19, yet for the old, aged 60-plus, Australia ranked ninth.

Prof John F. Helliwell, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia, and a founding Editor of the World Happiness Report, said the report provided an unmatched source of data about the quality of lives across the world. 

“We found some pretty striking results,” he said. 

“There is a great variety among countries in the relative happiness of the younger, older, and in-between populations. 

“Hence the global happiness rankings are quite different for the young and the old, to an extent that has changed a lot over the last dozen years.”

Serbia (37th) and Bulgaria (81st) have had the biggest increases in average life evaluation scores since they were first measured by the Gallup World Poll in 2013, and this is reflected in climbs up the rankings between World Happiness Report 2013 and this 2024 edition of 69 places for Serbia and 63 places for Bulgaria.

The next two countries showing the largest increases in life evaluations are Latvia (46th) and Congo (Brazzaville) (89th), with rank increases of 44 and 40 places, respectively, between 2013 and 2024.

Lithuania tops the list for children and young people under 30, while Denmark is the world’s happiest nation for those 60 and older.

Prof Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Director of Oxford’s Wellbeing Research Centre, Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at Saïd Business School, and an Editor of the World Happiness Report, said the report uncovered “some special empirical insights at the cutting edge of the wellbeing research frontier”. 

“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.

“It is a great privilege and responsibility for our Centre at Oxford to become the next custodian of the World Happiness Report and we’re committed to continuing to give the world the best evidence on the state of global happiness in collaboration with our partners.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.