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Demographics

Countries With the Largest Happiness Gains Since 2010

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See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.

A chart showing the top countries with the biggest happiness gains (measured out of 10) between 2010–2024.

Countries With the Largest Happiness Gains Since 2010

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

In 2011, Bhutan sponsored a UN resolution that invited governments to prioritize happiness and well-being as a way to measure social and economic development.

And thus, the World Happiness Report was born.

In 2012, the first report released, examining Gallup poll data from 2006–2010 that asked respondents in nearly every country to evaluate their life on a 0–10 scale. From this they extrapolated a single “happiness score” out of 10 to compare how happy countries are.

More than a decade later, the 2024 World Happiness Report continues the mission to quantify, measure, and compare well-being. Its latest findings also include how countries have become happier in the intervening years.

We visualize these findings in the above chart, which shows the 20 countries that have seen their happiness scores grow the most since 2010.

Which Countries Have Become Happier Since 2010?

Serbia leads a list of 12 Eastern European nations whose average happiness score has improved more than 20% in the last decade.

In the same time period, the Serbian economy has doubled to $80 billion, and its per capita GDP has nearly doubled to $9,538 in current dollar terms.

RankCountryHappiness Score
Gains (2010–2024)
2024 Happiness
Score (out of 10)
1🇷🇸 Serbia+1.86.4
2🇧🇬 Bulgaria+1.65.5
3🇱🇻 Latvia+1.56.2
4🇨🇬 Congo+1.45.2
5🇷🇴 Romania+1.36.5
6🇨🇳 China+1.36.0
7🇬🇪 Georgia+1.35.2
8🇱🇹 Lithuania+1.26.8
9🇵🇭 Philippines+1.26.0
10🇹🇬 Togo+1.24.2
11🇳🇮 Nicaragua+1.26.3
12🇽🇰 Kosovo+1.16.6
13🇲🇳 Mongolia+1.15.7
14🇪🇪 Estonia+1.16.4
15🇭🇺 Hungary+1.16.0
16🇧🇦 Bosnia &
Herzegovina
+1.05.9
17🇲🇰 North Macedonia+1.05.4
18🇦🇲 Armenia+1.05.5
19🇺🇿 Uzbekistan+1.06.2
20🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan+1.05.7
N/A🌍 World+0.15.5

Since the first report, Western Europe has on average been happier than Eastern Europe. But as seen with these happiness gains, Eastern Europe is now seeing their happiness levels converge closer to their Western counterparts. In fact, when looking at those under the age of 30, the most recent happiness scores are nearly the same across the continent.

All in all, 20 countries have increased their happiness score by a full point or more since 2010, on the 0–10 scale.

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Demographics

Ranked: Countries Where Youth are the Most Unhappy, Relative to Older Generations

Conventional wisdom says that young adults (those below 30) tend to be the happiest demographic—but this is not true for these countries.

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Countries with the Biggest Happiness Gaps Between Generations

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” — Tom Bodett

Measuring happiness is tricky business, more so when taking into account how different regions, cultures, and faiths define it. Nevertheless, the World Happiness Report attempts to distill being happy into a single score out of 10, and then ranks countries by their average score.

We’ve visualized the high-level findings from the latest happiness report in this series of maps. However, the report also dives deeper into other significant trends in the data, such as a growing disparity in happiness between age groups within countries themselves.

In the chart above, we list countries by the biggest gaps in happiness ranks between young adults (<30) and older adults (60+). A higher number indicates a larger gap, and that the youth are far unhappier than their older counterparts.

Where are Youth Unhappier than Older Adults?

Mauritius ranks first on this list, with a massive 57 place gap between older adult and youth happiness. The 1.26 million-inhabited island nation briefly reached high income status in 2020, but the pandemic hit hard, hurting its key tourism sector, and affecting jobs.

The country’s youth unemployment rate spiked to close to 25% that year, but has since been on the decline. Like residents on many similarly-populated islands, the younger demographic often moves abroad in search of more opportunities.

RankCountryYouth Happiness RankOlder Adult
Happiness Rank
Happiness Gap
1🇲🇺 Mauritius852857
2🇺🇸 U.S.621052
3🇨🇦 Canada58850
4🇺🇿 Uzbekistan712249
5🇨🇳 China793049
6🇯🇵 Japan733637
7🇲🇳 Mongolia865333
8🇩🇿 Algeria936231
9🇱🇾 Libya805030
10🇸🇬 Singapore542628
11🇰🇿 Kazakhstan694227
12🇵🇭 Philippines704327
13🇱🇦 Laos1047727
14🇩🇪 Germany472126
15🇪🇸 Spain552926
16🇲🇹 Malta573126
17🇧🇭 Bahrain775126
18🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan815526
19🇲🇷 Mauritania1199326
20🇹🇩 Chad1209426

Conventional wisdom says, and data somewhat correlates, that young adults (those below 30) tend to be the happiest demographic. Happiness then decreases through middle age and starts increasing around 60. However, the above countries are digressing from the pattern, with older generations being much happier than young adults.

That older generations are happier, by itself, is not a bad thing. However, that younger adults are so much unhappier in the same country can point to several unique stresses that those aged below 30 are facing.

For example, in the U.S. and Canada—both near the top of this list—many young adults feel like they have been priced out of owning a home: a once key metric of success.

Climate anxieties are also high, with worries about the future of the world they’ll inhabit. Finally, persistent economic inequities are also weighing on the younger generation, with many in that cohort feeling like they will never be able to afford to retire.

All of this comes alongside a rising loneliness epidemic, where those aged 18–25 report much higher rates of loneliness than the general population.

Where does this data come from?

Source: The World Happiness Report which leverages data from the Gallup World Poll.

Methodology: A nationally representative group of approximately 1,000 people per country are asked to evaluate their life on a scale of 0–10. Scores are averaged across generations per country over three years. Countries are ranked by their scores out of 10.

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