Deciphering the World Happiness Report: Key Insights

Image of the World Happiness Report 2024 cover featuring key insights into global well-being trends
Deciphering the World Happiness Report: Key Insights [Source: ENSURE IAS]

The World Happiness Report, an annual publication, ranks countries based on their happiness levels. Factors like social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption are evaluated to determine a nation's overall happiness. In the 2024 edition, Finland retained its title as the happiest country for the seventh consecutive year.


Data for the report is gathered from various sources, including the Gallup World Poll. Collaborators include the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Gallup, and the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre. Published annually on March 20, coinciding with the International Day of Happiness.

India’s Ranking and Comparison:

India ranked 126th out of 143 nations in the 2024 report, trailing behind countries like Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Palestine, and Niger. This emphasizes the need for India to address citizen well-being. Notably, India's neighbors, including China, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, ranked higher.

Happiness and Age in India:

The report challenges the belief that older age correlates with higher life satisfaction only in high-income nations. In India, older men generally reported higher life satisfaction, though older women surpassed them when other factors were considered.

Education and Caste Disparities:

Education and social caste significantly impact life satisfaction among older Indians. Those with secondary education or higher and belonging to higher castes reported greater satisfaction compared to those without formal education or from marginalized castes.

India’s Growing Older Population:

With 140 million citizens aged 60 and above, India hosts the world's second-largest older population. Their growth rate surpasses the country's overall population growth, necessitating attention to their well-being.

Factors Influencing Life Satisfaction:

Lower satisfaction with living arrangements, perceived discrimination, and poor self-rated health are linked to low life satisfaction among older Indians. Addressing these issues requires targeted interventions and policies.

Nordic Countries’ Dominance:

Nordic countries continue to lead the happiness rankings. Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden exemplify strong social support systems and high levels of trust.

New Entries and Notable Changes:

Costa Rica and Lithuania entered the top 20, reflecting their efforts in promoting citizen well-being. Conversely, Afghanistan remains the least happy country.

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