Older Americans are happy, but younger ones are not -- in stark contrast to rest of the world

FILE-Four seniors drink wine in a field of spring desert gold yellow flowers near Henderson Road in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Older people are deemed the happiest Americans compared to their younger counterparts based on findings in the 2024 World Happiness Report

People in the U.S. 60 years old and older ranked in the top 10 for the world’s happiest group, while individuals ages 45-59 were in the number 17 spot. 

The U.S. ranks 23rd in the 2024 World Happiness Report because of a decline in happiness levels among younger generations compared to older ones. 

RELATED: World’s happiest countries revealed in 2024 report, and US no longer ranks in top 20

This year’s ranking marked the first time the U.S. fell out of the top 20 in the report. 

There was a stark contrast in happiness between older age groups and the two younger generations in the U.S. According to the report, Americans ages 30-44 ranked 42nd on the happiness charts, while individuals under age 30 ranked 62nd on the list. 

While all age groups in the U.S. saw a dip in their happiness, including a mild drop for Americans over 60 years old, the younger generation’s decline in the rankings created a noticeable gap in the list between the two generations, Professor John F. Helliwell, a founding editor of the World Happiness Report, explained in a statement. 

Helliwell noted in the report that older Americans are happier compared to younger groups because they can shrug off negativity easily — "a very good skill to have when surrounded by the doom and gloom people are peppered with in the news." 

Separately, the report notes that in the U.S. happiness has fallen so sharply for the younger groups that they are now less happy than the older generation. 

By contrast, in Central and Eastern Europe, younger generations are much happier than older ones. And in Western Europe happiness is similar at all ages, while in other countries, it tends to decline over time. 

The World Happiness Report used survey data from Gallup, and it’s examined by researchers specializing in well-being. 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.