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Poll Shows US Dropped in Global Happiness Rankings, With Young People Leading the Charge

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Poll Shows US Dropped in Global Happiness Rankings, With Young People Leading the Charge
Source: Pinterest

Poll Shows US Dropped in Global Happiness Rankings, With Young People Leading the Charge

Source: Pinterest

The Gallup World Poll has released its 2024 ranking for the happiest countries in the world.
As the U.S. drops a couple of spots, they also notice that this might be because of how unhappy the younger generation is.

The Gallup World Poll

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The Gallup World poll is a yearly survey which the company carried out to determine how happy people are around the world. They do this country by country, compile all data, and then publish their list.
Countries always hope to rank high as it shows a good quality of life for their citizens. Those who rank low usually have many difficulties and aren’t the best places for migration.

How Does the Poll Work?

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The way the researchers at Gallup go about this might be a little surprising. They reached out to different people in all countries and conducted a survey. They asked the participants to imagine a ladder, think about their current life, and say how happy they think they’re living using the rungs to determine their happiness levels.

The Ladder Survey

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The bottom rung of the ladder indicates a terrible life at zero, while the top indicates a very happy life at ten. Therefore, they asked them to pick a number that properly describes how they feel their lives are currently.
Their survey involved about 1000 people in every country. Using their answers, they collated the data and used it to determine how happy people were in their countries.

Finland, the Happiest Country in the World

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The happiest country in the world, for an outstanding seventh time in a row, is Finland. Other Scandinavian countries ranked very high on the list as well. In the top ten, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are ranking high.
According to researchers, Scandinavian countries always rank so high on the poll because these countries have social support and healthy lifestyles.

The United States Ranking

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In 2023’s poll, the U.S. ranked at number 15. However, this has plummeted since then. Now, America ranks in 23rd place, completely dropping out of the top 20 happiest countries.
Although the U.S. does not rank in the top 20 anymore, it is not a bad ranking as there are 195 countries in the world.

Younger Americans Are Not So Happy

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The significant drop in the ranking of the U.S. is attributed to the younger population. According to the survey, younger Americans noted a huge drop in their levels of happiness.
“The report finds there’s a dramatic decrease in the self-reported well-being of people aged 30 and below,” editor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, the director of the Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford University, explained.

Older Americans Are Happy

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On the other hand, older Americans are quite happy. This showed a huge difference between generations and how they are faring in the country. According to the survey’s data, Americans aged 60 or older reported they had high levels of well-being.
They were happy and content with their lives. Therefore, they ranked themselves high on the imaginary ladder for the survey.

Why Are Older Americans Are Happier?

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The older generation have a lot of reasons to be happy. According to the researchers from this study, on average, it’s natural to see people become happier as they get older. This stems from them being in a secure state in their lives.
They do not have to worry about their careers and are majorly retirees. They are mostly also financially secure and stable.

Why Are Young Americans Not Happy?

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There are many answers to this bugging question. According to researchers, the youth in the U.S. may feel more anxiety or displeasure over things like climate change or politics.
In addition, they view these issues more seriously than the older generation. This is because things like these affect their future, and they are constantly worried about them.

The Younger U.S. Citizens Feel Threatened

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“People are hearing that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and the young especially are feeling more threatened by it,” John Helliwell, a co-author of this study, stated. Therefore, they are constantly scared and threatened, feeling as though their futures are not secure.
While middle-aged Americans are dealing with stresses like child care and mortgages, the young are worried about their future.

Are the Youth Happy Elsewhere?

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The United States isn’t the only country with a significantly unhappy younger generation. In fact, the study shows that people in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Western Europe also saw a drop in happiness. Furthermore, North America as a whole saw a significant drop in overall satisfaction of younger people compared to older adults.

The Significant Generational Divide

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As the results showed, there is a significant generational divide in the levels of happiness. When looking at the top countries for happier older citizens, the U.S. ranks in the top 10. This surprised even the managing director at Gallup, Ilana Ron-Levey. “We knew that a relationship existed between age and happiness, but the biggest surprise is that it is more nuanced than we previously thought, and it is changing,” she said.