The latest edition of the World Happiness Report has been released, and once again, Canada scored in the top 20 — outpacing many rivals, like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France.

The report is calculated using a three-year average, with info carried over from one year to the next. This helps minimize dramatic spikes but still allows for changing trends to influence the data.

Six Factors in Consideration

Below, find the data in a searchable table! The six factors that influence the overall rankings are:

Differences in Happiness Across Age Groups

The picture isn’t all roses, though. Canada ranks 15th in 2024, but last year, we were #13. Some of the downward trend is due to a growing dissatisfaction among younger people — older folks, by contrast, rate their happiness quite highly!

Most of this change in young peoples’ happiness has come since 2010. Places where young people are happier than older folks include Central and Eastern Europe, along with Latin America.

On the plus side, Canada ranks well for “equality of happiness.” That is, the space between “happy” and “unhappy” people isn’t very large. According to the World Happiness Report, “people are happier living in countries where the equality of happiness is greater.” So, in a sense, rising happiness lifts all boats!

The “U” Shape

Interestingly, the report’s authors observed a “U-shape” in happiness when considering age. They define this as a “mid-life low,” and observe it across populations. They suggest that for millennials and Gen Z — that is, people born after 1980 — happiness falls each year. This is the inverse for older folks!

As a country, we need to buck this trend, and get to a place where happiness doesn’t decline as people age.

Population Influence

The top 20 countries are all rather small, population-wise. The only countries in the top 20 with more than 30 million people are Canada (at 40 million) and the United Kingdom (at 67 million).

Social Supports and Loneliness

Though older people — that is, baby boomers and beyond — have fewer social touchpoints in their daily lives, they report a greater sense of social solidarity, and less loneliness, than younger folks who may be engaging with others more regularly.

Perhaps boomers are better able to “extract value” from their limited social engagements? This could be something for us millennials and Gen Zs to learn from!

Next Steps

Canada remains a happier-than-average place, but there’s always work to be done. Perhaps including more young people from places where youth are happiest would rub off on our population!

As a country, we must build a country where older folks can retire happily, while younger people innovate and develop new technologies and ways of living. Happiness is in reach, but we all need to pull together!

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