Aussies content despite generational ‘happy gap’

Two generations of happy women. | Newsreel
Australians are among the happiest people in the world despite emerging generations differences. | iStock

Australia has been ranked in the top 10 happiest countries in the world as new data shows a significant generational “happy gap” across the globe.

The Gallup World Happiness Report 2024 revealed that residents of small European countries tended to be the most content.

Researchers also discovered a “disconcerting” trend in North America and Western Europe where children were experiencing something akin to a mid-life crisis.

The survey found Finland was the world’s happiest country, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Sweden.

The remainder of the top 10 included (in order) Israel, The Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg and Switzerland, with Australia just sneaking into the top 10.

Significantly, the United States fell out of the top 20 for the first time since the report began in 2012, driven by growing glumness among Americans under 30.

For the first time, researchers were able to separate happiness levels based on age.

“In comparing generations (globally), those born before 1965 are, on average, happier than those born since 1980,” the report found.

“Among Millennials, evaluation of one’s own life drops with each year of age, while among Boomers life satisfaction increases with age.”

World Happiness Report Editor Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve said the data revealed some disturbing trends in some areas of the world.

“Piecing together the available data on the wellbeing of children and adolescents around the world, we documented disconcerting drops, especially in North American and Western Europe,” he said.

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

The World Happiness Report is based on data from 2021 to 2023 in which people are asked to self-assess their quality of life.

More details can be found at the Gallup website