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The Netherlands ranks as the sixth happiest country globally, slipping one spot compared to previous rankings

The Netherlands ranks as the sixth happiest country globally, as per the findings of the World Happiness Report 2024, marking a slight decline of one position from the previous year. Finland maintains its status as the happiest country for the seventh consecutive year, although Denmark is gaining ground, as noted by researchers.

In this report, a collaborative effort by researchers from Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, individuals were surveyed regarding their life satisfaction. Various factors such as gross national product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption within a nation were considered.

The study reveals significant disparities in happiness between different age groups. In some instances, older individuals fare better, as seen in the United States and Canada, where those aged 60 and above rank significantly higher than those under 30. Conversely, in Central and Eastern Europe, the opposite trend is observed. While the Netherlands is among the countries where older adults report higher happiness levels compared to the youth, the contrast is less pronounced. Dutch citizens over 60 claim the seventh spot in global happiness rankings, while those under 30 rank ninth.

For the first time in over a decade since the report’s inception, the United States (23rd) and Germany (24th) have fallen out of the top 20 happiest countries. Furthermore, none of the countries with the largest populations are within the top 20 anymore. The researchers highlight a concerning trend of increasing global happiness inequality by over 20 percent across all regions and age groups over the past decade, although the extent varies significantly by age and region. Additionally, men tend to report higher levels of happiness than women, with negative emotions more prevalent among females in every region.

Finland’s residents maintain their happiness pinnacle attributed to their deep connection with nature, a balanced work-life equilibrium, a robust welfare system, high levels of trust in state institutions, minimal corruption, and accessible healthcare and education.

In Eastern European nations like Serbia, Bulgaria, and Latvia, there has been a notable increase in reported happiness, whereas Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Jordan experienced sharp declines. Afghanistan, plagued by a humanitarian crisis since the Taliban’s resurgence in 2020, retains its position as the world’s least happy country at 143rd place, mirroring last year’s rankings.

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