Old and young, who is happy and who is not.

Recent findings have highlighted a concerning trend: a growing disparity in happiness between the younger and older generations within certain countries.

This divide is not only a reflection of the different stages of life but also indicative of the unique challenges faced by these age groups in the modern world.

The Price of Prosperity

In North America, both the United States and Canada exhibit a substantial happiness gap, with the youth feeling the pinch of economic pressures.

In these Countries, many young adults feel priced out of milestones such as homeownership, once considered a key metric of success.

The U.S. and Canada rank second and third, respectively, with gaps of 52 and 50 places between the happiness levels of the young and the old.

Mexico is also often considered part of North America when analyzing happiness.

However, in the World Happiness Report, Mexico was ranked 26th on the list of the happiest countries in the world, showing a higher level of happiness than its GDP might suggest.

This shows that, despite economic challenges, Mexico like other Latin American Countries often exceed expectations in terms of happiness, thanks to factors such as social capital, family and interpersonal relationships.

In the World Happiness Report 2024, discussion of the results for Latin America highlighted how these countries maintain relatively high levels of happiness.

Costa Rica ranked as the happiest country in the region, followed by nations such as Guatemala, Uruguay and Mexico.

The report highlights how Latin America, despite a lower GDP than other developed regions, shows a level of happiness above the global average.

These findings were discussed in a live event hosted by the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) and the Mexican Society of Positive Psychology, where experts explored the implications of these data for Mexico and the entire Latin American region.

In short, Latin America continues to demonstrate that happiness and well-being are multidimensional and that social and human progress is as important as economic growth.

The situation in Europe presents a mixed picture.

Europe, with its rich cultural and historical diversity, presents an interesting spectrum of happiness levels among its countries.

Countries such as Finland, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland regularly rank among the happiest countries in the world.

These Nordic European Countries are known for their high standards of living, inclusive welfare systems, low levels of corruption and a strong sense of community.

This could be attributed to better social security systems and the accumulation of wealth over time.

Countries like Germany, Norway, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain see their elderly populations significantly happier than their younger counterparts.

Conversely, Southern European Countries like Italy, Greece and Portugal show the opposite pattern, with the youth faring better in happiness rankings than the older generation.

In the context of Eastern Europe Countries such as Latvia, Bulgaria and Croatia are often found at the bottom of happiness rankings.

However, efforts are being made in these nations to improve the quality of life and promote social well-being.

Happiness in Europe is influenced by a combination of economic, social and environmental factors, and the World Happiness Report provides in-depth insights into how these elements interact to shape the life experiences of European citizens.

When it comes to Middle Eastern Countries in terms of happiness, the World Happiness Report shows mixed results.

Kuwait ranked first among Arab Countries in 2024, marking a significant improvement in the perception of happiness among its citizens.

Other Gulf Countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are also among the happiest in the region, thanks to their wealth and relatively advanced social services.

Countries like Yemen, Jordan, and Lebanon often find themselves at the bottom of happiness rankings, due to prolonged conflict, political instability, and economic hardship.

Lebanon, in particular, was ranked as the least happy Country in the Middle East in 2024.

Africa is a continent with a wide range of experiences of happiness.

While some African Countries face significant challenges due to conflict, political instability and economic problems, others show surprisingly high levels of happiness.

The World Happiness Report highlights that, in Africa, happiness is influenced by a combination of factors, including health, education, personal safety and access to basic services.

Furthermore, cultural resilience and social support play a crucial role in contributing to people’s overall well-being.

Mauritius is often ranked as the happiest country in Africa, thanks to its strong sense of community and political and economic stability.

Other countries such as Libya, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa and Gambia also showed good levels of happiness despite economic and social challenges.

In Asia, happiness is influenced by a variety of cultural, economic, and social factors.

According to the World Happiness Report, Countries such as Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Philippines lead the happiness rankings in the region.

These Countries demonstrate how economic prosperity, social cohesion, and cultural values are significant determinants of their citizens’ happiness.

In Asia, countries like Japan and China also show notable gaps, with the elderly outpacing the youth in happiness rankings.

Japan stands out with a 37-place difference, while China shares a 49-place gap with Uzbekistan, both indicating a trend where the older adults are much happier than the young.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing economies, India remains at the 126th position in the global happiness ranking.

This suggests that, although there are economic advancements, there are still significant challenges in terms of social equity, access to services, and quality of life that affect overall happiness.

South Korea is often praised for its rapid economic and technological development, which has contributed to improving the well-being of its citizens.

However, the Country also faces issues such as work stress and social pressures, which can affect the perception of happiness.

The Philippines stand out for their strong sense of community and family, despite economic challenges and natural adversities like frequent typhoons.

These social factors play a crucial role in maintaining a relatively high level of happiness among the population.

Conclusions

The World Happiness Report concludes that people’s quality of life can be assessed consistently, reliably and validly through a range of measures of subjective well-being, collectively referred to as “happiness.”

The report highlights the importance of considering happiness as an operational goal for Governments and proposes a holistic view of well-being that goes beyond simple economic indicators.

The World Happiness Report 2024 has made a significant contribution to understanding happiness and well-being across different life stages.

The 2024 edition analyzed happiness trends in over 140 countries, looking at different ages and generations.

It found that the well-being of young people aged 15 to 24 has declined in North America, Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and South Asia since 2019.

The World Happiness Report 2024 suggests that happiness can be increased by providing citizens with a comprehensive social safety net that includes food, health care, housing, support for the most vulnerable, culture, recreation, and generally adequate social welfare programs.


Sources :

  1. World Happiness Report 2024
  2. World Happiness Report 2023
  3. United Nations
  4. Visual Capitalist
  5. DW – Made for Minds
  6. Zero Hedge