A Map Of Global Happiness By Country In 2024

By U Cast Studios
March 25, 2024

A Map Of Global Happiness By Country In 2024
Image Courtesy Of Visual Capitalist
A map of the world color-coded by the average happiness level in each country.

Happiness, like love, is perhaps one of the least understood and most sought-after emotions and experiences in human life.

This article was written by Pallavi Rao and originally published by Visual Capitalist.

And while many inspiring teachings exist about attaining individual happiness, it’s worthwhile to consider how happy entire countries are on a collective scale.

We visualize the findings from the World Happiness Report 2024, an enduring attempt to measure, quantify, and compare happiness levels around the world, sourcing data from Gallup.

The Gallup World Poll surveys approximately 1,000 respondents in nearly every country on a variety of issues, one of which is to evaluate their current life on a scale from 0–10.

The World Happiness Report then averages the score from life evaluations per country over a three-year period (2021–2023 for this year’s edition) and ranks from highest to lowest. For a full breakdown of how this works, please see the end of this article.

The effects of cataclysmic events during a particular year can be muted, depending on both the three-year averaging and when the survey took place in the country.

Ranked: The Most & Least Happy Countries in 2024

The top 10 happiest countries—led by FinlandDenmark, and Iceland—have remained largely unchanged since 2023’s findings.

Here are the top 30 countries in the world by happiness.

However the top 20 has some new entrants—Costa Rica and Kuwait—matched by the departures of the U.S. and Germany from the same ranks.

A correlation between population size and happiness can be seen clearly when looking at the first 20 spots on the happiness rankings.

In the top 10 only the Netherlands and Australia have populations over 15 million. In the top 20, only Canada and the UK have populations over 30 million.

Afghanistan, ranked last, has the lowest happiness on the scale (1.7) and is the only Asian country in the bottom 10, which is mostly populated by nations in Africa.

We explore some regional highlights as well:

Happiness Levels in North & South America and Europe

A map of North America color-coded by the average happiness level in each country.

Previously mentioned Costa Rica, ranked 12th, is North and Central America’s happiest country, beating Canada by a 0.1 score, or three ranks.

The report highlights an interesting phenomenon for the two most developed economies in the region, the U.S., (23rd) and Canada (15th), where the old are significantly more happy than the young, a pattern seen in Nordic Europe as well.

The Dominican Republic continues to be the least happy country in the region, but it’s worthwhile noting it’s still happier than more than half of the other nations in the dataset.

A map of South America color-coded by the average happiness level in each country.

Uruguay, ranked 26th, once again leads South America’s happiest countries, and is in the fifth-happiest in the entire Americas, beaten only by Mexico, the U.S., Canada, and Costa Rica.

And, once again, Venezuela, ranked 79th, is South America’s unhappiest country, despite climbing more than 29 spots in the last two editions of this report.

While recent trends are encouraging, the Venezuelan populace is still significantly unhappier than in 2010, a full point lower on the scale, and the fourth-worst fall in the dataset.

A map of Europe color-coded by the average happiness level in each country.

Aside from the top happiness ranks populated by small, wealthy European nations, the report also notes that the continent is seeing a convergence in happiness levels between Central & Eastern Europe and Western Europe—when in previous decades Western Europe was significantly happier.

In fact those under the age of 30 are equally happy across the continent, with only the older age groups seeing a gap.

Ukraine, now with two full years of battling the Russian invasion, is the unhappiest country in Europe, ranked 105th overall.

Happiness Levels in Asia, the Middle East, Oceania and Africa

A map of Central Asia and the Middle East color-coded by the average happiness level in each country.

In the Middle East and Central Asia, Israel, at fifth place, leads the region’s happiness levels, dropping one spot since 2023.

The report notes that Gallup’s survey in Israel occurred after October 7th, but before much of the subsequent warfare. Thus, life evaluations fell by 0.9 for the year, of which only one-third impacted their final score.

However, the survey in Palestine (ranked 103rd globally) took place earlier in the year, before October 7th.

In Central Asia, Afghanistan’s happiness is not only the lowest measured in the world, its score has also halved since 2010, the worst of all countries in the same time period.

A map of Asia and Oceania color-coded by the average happiness level in each country.

Meanwhile, in South and East Asia, Singapore (30th) and Taiwan (31st), are well ahead of regional economic heavyweights, China (60th), Japan (51st), and India (126th), when it comes to happiness levels.

In Oceania, Australia (10th) and New Zealand (11th), happiness dispersion mirrors the U.S., Canada, and the Nordics, in that the old are much happier than the young.

A map of Africa color-coded by the average happiness level in each country.

The world’s second largest continent, Africa, accounts for nine of the bottom 10 least happiest countries in the world, many of them clustered around Africa’s Great Lakes.

Lesotho is the unhappiest country in Africa and third-worst overall. The country’s residents often immigrate to neighboring South Africa, both in search of opportunities as well as escaping persistent food insecurity from recurring droughts.

On the other hand, Africa’s happiest country, Libya has seen a resurgence in political stability recently. The country’s second civil war ended in 2020, and recently the three main ruling factions have agreed on a framework for a unified government.

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