These Are The Top 20 Countries Where Older People Are The Happiest

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Apr 01, 2024 - 08:15 AM

The newest global happiness index doesn’t have any massive surprises from the ongoing trends of the last decade: Europe generally does the best, Africa is still finding its footing, and Asia and South America have vast rank disparities between constituent nations.

However, as the World Happiness Report notes, happiness levels differ across age groups, and countries’ overall ranks tend to obfuscate how the old and young feel separately. To counter this, the report also creates a happiness index by age.

In the follow graphic, Visual Capitalist's Pallavi Rao visualizes the top 20 happiest countries according to those aged above 60. For comparison, we have also included a country’s overall index rank.

Data and Takeaways

ℹ️ Gallup’s survey in Israel occurred after October 7th, but before much of the subsequent warfare. As a result, overall life evaluations in the country fell by 0.9 for 2023. Note that each country’s rank is based on a three-year average score.

The top two countries where the seniors are most satisfied—Denmark and Finland—also happen to be the top two countries on the overall happiness index.

As a general trend, advanced economies make up the bulk of this top 20 list, likely due to their stronger social security systems and financial security. Relatedly, they also tend to do well when it comes to the best countries to retire in.

Norway, at third, has the first real discrepancy, with its elderly population ranking four places higher compared to its overall 7th place rank.

New Zealand (6th) and Canada (8th) also have gaps with their overall ranks: indicating that the older generation is happier than other generations within the country.

But for the U.S., (10th) and the UAE (11th), this rank discrepancy is in the double-digits.

In fact, when ranking only by those aged below 30, the U.S. ranks outside of the top 50, indicating that its younger residents are significantly unhappier than their older counterparts.

This is an interesting phenomenon mirrored in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. According to the report, as recently as a decade ago, the younger generation in these countries were about as happy as those aged over 60.

“In the West, the received wisdom was that the young are the happiest and that happiness thereafter declines until middle age, followed by substantial recovery.”


For other countries like Costa Rica (17) and Israel (18), this pattern reverses. Their overall rank is higher than their rank for older populations, indicating that the young are happier.