“Old are much happier than the young”: Germany slips in World Happiness Report 2024

“Old are much happier than the young”: Germany slips in World Happiness Report 2024

Germany has slipped down from 16th to 24th place in the World Happiness Report for 2024, while the Finns took the top spot for the seventh consecutive year.

World Happiness Report 2024

Created by Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the WHR’s Editorial Board, the 2024 World Happiness Report analysed 143 nations to see which countries’ citizens are the happiest. The theme of this year’s report was “happiness and age", with experts focusing on how someone’s age can influence their happiness across regions.

To rank each nation on the list, data is sourced from a series of surveys held by Gallup where respondents were asked to rate their happiness on a scale of one to 10. In explaining how people measure their happiness, study co-author Jan-Emmanuel De Neve told the Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten that “it's not necessarily happy in the sense of jumping up and down, being happy in the moment. It's more of a feeling of satisfaction.”

Using the results of the survey, and an average of previous results from the last three years, the ranking then estimated how six different factors impact happiness in each nation:

  • Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita
  • Life expectancy
  • Perceptions of corruption
  • Social support
  • The freedom to make life choices
  • Generosity 

All nations included in the study were then assigned a score out of 10, which was then compared to a benchmark set by Dystopia - an imaginary country home to the world’s least happy people. 

Globally, the report noted that happiness inequality has increased by more than 20 percent in the last 12 years. During the time period, 79 nations have seen their happiness scores increase or remain the same, while 54 states have seen their ratings decline.

Germany no longer among 20 happiest countries in the world

As is also often the case with international quality of life rankings, Nordic countries dominated the top end of the ranking, with all five Nordic countries making the top 10. Finland took the crowning spot, followed by Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Israel. 

It wasn’t such a pretty picture for Germany, which slumped down from 16th place in 2023 to 24th place in the 2024 ranking, in which people in the federal republic ranked their happiness levels at 6,719 out of 10.

Overall, the report revealed a widespread disparity between the happiness of older and younger generations, with the former being the happier group. However, Germany was one of the top six countries where this generational difference was the most pronounced, alongside Norway, Sweden, France, the UK and Spain.

Afghanistan was ranked as the country where people are the least happy, followed by Lebanon, Lesotho and Sierra Leone.

World's happiest countries in 2024

Overall, here are the 10 happiest countries in 2024:

  1. Finland (7,741)
  2. Denmark (7,573)
  3. Iceland (7,525)
  4. Sweden (7,344)
  5. Israel (7,341)
  6. The Netherlands (7,319)
  7. Norway (7,302)
  8. Luxembourg (7,122)
  9. Switzerland (7,060)
  10. Australia (7,057)

For more information about the study and to see how other nations ranked, check out the official report.

Thumb image credit: Tony Bowler /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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