US drops out of top twenty happiest countries in the world for the first time ever after plunging eight places and ranking as low as 62 – after Mexico and Guatemala – among the under-30s, league table reveals

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The US is unhappier than ever before, according to a new major report.

The World Happiness Report, published by the United Nations, showed the US had plunged eight places from 15th to 23rd place this year.

This was its lowest rank since the report — which covers 140 countries — was first launched in 2012 and well below its record high of 11th place. 

Among under-30s, the US was ranked 62nd in terms of happiness — below post-Soviet nations like Serbia (3rd) and Latvia (31st) and even southern neighbors  Mexico (22nd) and Guatemala (49th). 

The results mean that overall America’s 331million inhabitants are now considered to be less happy than those living in post-Soviet nations like the Czech Republic and even Israel — despite the country currently waging a war in Gaza.

They are also considered to be more unhappy than those in like-minded European nations including the UK and Belgium. Finland was ranked as the happiest nation for the seventh year in a row.

The above graphic shows how the ranking for happiness in the US, UK and Australia has shifted over time 

The report said the US dip — which also saw it drop out of the top 20 happiest nations for the first time — was driven by falls in well-being among under-30s.

Previous studies have shown this generation is much more lonely than its peers, with this linked to a multitude of health problems including higher rates of depression and anxiety.

Across the world, the report found that people born before 1965 were much happier globally than those born since 1980.

Millennials’ happiness was observed to drop each year. In contrast, boomers’ life satisfaction has increased with age. 

The US ranked 62nd in terms of happiness among younger people. Among the old — defined as in over-60s — it came 10th. 

It scored 42nd for younger middle-aged people and 17th for older middle-aged. 

Finland has been named the world's happiest country for the seventh year running, in an annual UN-sponsored index. Pictured: Helsinki

Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the seventh year running, in an annual UN-sponsored index. Pictured: Helsinki

Afghanistan was the unhappiest country (score 1.72) out of the 143 nations included in the UN-backed survey. Pictured: Kabul

Afghanistan was the unhappiest country (score 1.72) out of the 143 nations included in the UN-backed survey. Pictured: Kabul

In comparison, Britain scored 32nd for youth, 27th for younger middle-aged people, 19th for older middle-aged people, and 20th for older people.

Lithuania (19th overall) has the happiest younger people in the global rankings while Denmark’s (2nd overall) old people were the happiest on Earth. 

Experts said the data showed a worrying trend of younger people in Western Europe and North America, experiencing the equivalent of a ‘mid-life crisis’. 

Dr Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, an economics professor at Said Business School in the UK, said: ‘Once again the World Happiness Report uncovers some special empirical insights at the cutting edge of the wellbeing research frontier.

‘Piecing together the available data on the well-being of children and adolescents around the world, we documented disconcerting drops — especially in North America and Western Europe.

‘To think that, in some parts of the world, children are already experiencing the equivalent of a mid-life crisis demands immediate policy action.’

For the report, people in 140 countries were asked to say on a scale of one to ten how happy they were, with ten being very happy and zero being very unhappy.

The results were based on three years’ worth of data of people saying how happy they were.

Data showed that, overall, Finland was the happiest nation in the world for the seventh year in a row — scoring 7.7 out of ten. 

Nordic nations Denmark, Iceland and Sweden collected second, third and fourth place — with scores of 7.6, 7.5 and 7.3.

Only two of the top ten happiest nations — Israel (7.3) and Australia (7.1) — were not in Europe.

Other countries overtaking America’s 6.7 out of ten happiness score included Canada, which was ranked 15th with a score of 6.9.

Germany was ranked one place below at 24th with 6.6 out of ten and Mexico was ranked two places below at 25th also with 6.6 out of ten.

Autocracies continued to fare far worse on the report, with China ranked in 60th place with a happiness score of just 5.9 — although this was a slight climb from 64th place last year.

And Russia fell two places to 72nd with a score of 5.8 out of ten amid its war in Ukraine.

War-scarred Afghanistan and Lebanon remained the two unhappiest countries on earth with scores of 1.72 and 2.70 respectively.

The third unhappiest was the landlocked African nation of Lesotho at 3.18. 

Forty-six of the 140 countries — or 32 percent — had a larger proportion of their overall population ranked as unhappy than happy.


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