Switzerland continues to slip down world happiness ranking

Switzerland continues to slip down world happiness ranking

The latest World Happiness Report for 2024 has seen Switzerland slip further down the ranking. Despite the continued decline, people who live and work in the alpine nation are still some of the happiest people on the planet.

World Happiness Report 2024

To create the report, experts from Gallup, the Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the WHR’s Editorial Board, analysed 143 nations to see which countries’ citizens are the happiest. The theme of the 2024 report was “happiness and age", with experts focusing on how someone’s age can influence their happiness across regions.

To rank each nation on the list, data is sourced from a series of surveys held by Gallup where respondents were asked to rate their happiness on a scale of one to 10. In explaining how people measure their happiness, study co-author Jan-Emmanuel De Neve told 20 Minuten that “it's not necessarily happy in the sense of jumping up and down, being happy in the moment. It's more of a feeling of satisfaction.”

Using the results of the survey, and an average of previous results from the last three years, the ranking then estimated how six different factors impact happiness in each nation:

  • Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita
  • Life expectancy
  • Perceptions of corruption
  • Social support
  • The freedom to make life choices
  • Generosity 

All nations included in the study were then assigned a score out of 10, which was then compared to a benchmark set by Dystopia - an imaginary country home to the world’s least happy people. 

Globally, the report noted that happiness inequality has increased by more than 20 percent in the last 12 years. During the time period, 79 nations have seen their happiness scores increase or remain the same, while 54 states (including Switzerland) have seen their ratings decline.

Finland is the happiest nation on Earth... again

For 2024, Finland took the top spot for the seventh year in a row. They were joined on the podium by fellow Nordic nations Denmark and Iceland. While the ranking did not go into how Finland was able to stand out from the crowd, World Happiness Report founding editor John Helliwell told CNN that Finland scored well across all of the analysed categories

“Finland is pretty rich in all [aspects of happiness], like wallets being returned if they’re dropped in the street, people helping each other day in and day out, very high quality and universally distributed health and education opportunities - so everyone more or less comes out of the starting gate the same,” he explained.

Conversely, Afghanistan was rated as the least happy country in the world, followed by Lebanon, Lesotho and Sierra Leone.

Switzerland continues to slip down happiness ranking

In 2024, Switzerland slipped down in the ranking once again to place as the ninth happiest country in the world. While most would be happy with a top-10 finish, bear in mind that the alpine nation was the happiest country on Earth in 2015, and ranked on the podium as recently as 2021.

Part of this decline is down to stiff competition, with only a point separating first from 20th. Switzerland's score has also fallen slightly this year, from 7,240 in 2023 to 7.060 today. 

Again, while the report did not go into strict detail, when compared to Finland the alpine nation had worse scores in the social support, the freedom to make life choices and corruption categories. At the same time, Switzerland scored better than Finland for average life expectancy, GDP and generosity.

When it came to the report's theme, experts found that young people and the elderly are the two happiest groups in Switzerland on average. Those of advanced age but are not old enough to retire were the least happy.

World's happiest countries in 2024

In all, here are the 10 happiest countries on Earth in 2024:

  1. Finland (7,741)
  2. Denmark (7,573)
  3. Iceland (7,525)
  4. Sweden (7,344)
  5. Israel (7,341)
  6. The Netherlands (7,319)
  7. Norway (7,302)
  8. Luxembourg (7,122)
  9. Switzerland (7,060)
  10. Australia (7,057)

For more information about the study and to see how other nations ranked, check out the official report.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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