World Happiness Report: Canada ranked one of the unhappiest places in the West for people in their 20s
Amidst an unaffordability crisis and rising unrest, the 2024 World Happiness Report has revealed that Canadians under the age of 30 are some of the unhappiest people in the Western world.

Keean Bexte

March 21, 2024

Amidst an unaffordability crisis and rising unrest, the 2024 World Happiness Report has revealed that Canadians under the age of 30 are some of the unhappiest people in the Western world.

World Happiness Report: Canada ranked one of the unhappiest places in the West for people in their 20s

As per the World Happiness Report, Canada currently ranks 58th out of 140 countries in terms of happiness for people under the age of 30, behind countries such as the UK (32nd), Italy (41st), Poland (43rd), Germany (47th), France (48th), and even South Korea (52nd), a country well known for its high suicide rate. However, the US, never to be outdone (even in a race to the bottom), ranks even lower at 62nd.

With that said, Canada still ranks relatively high in terms of overall happiness for the adult population, driven largely by the contentment of senior citizens. Specifically, Canadian seniors are ranked as the 8th happiest in the world for their age group (>60). This pushed Canada up to the 15th position for the total population’s overall happiness ranking.

The situation facing young people

Still, the discontentment of Canadians in their 20s has many fearful over the future of the country and what current happiness levels say about the troubles facing young people compared to older generations.

In an interview with Global News, McGill University associate professor Chris Barrington-Leigh noted, “We have a very, very unhappy youth.” He further explained that this generation is facing significantly more uncertainty than past generations regarding the future, citing issues such as a lack of trust in government, weaker familial connections, and generally more stress and anxiety.

“One of the securities that are important for life satisfaction is actually just stability, feeling safe,” Barrington-Leigh said.

Felix Cheung, Canada’s research chair in population well-being, somewhat echoed these concerns. However, he added that the inability of the current generation to afford what previous generations could and achieve the “good life” is more likely the root of the problem.

“One possible reason why we’re seeing this decline in happiness among youth is that I think we need to really think about whether or not our younger folks feel hard work can bring success,” Cheung said.

And on the financial front, things only appear to be getting worse, at least according to a recently unveiled secret RCMP report.

What does the near-future hold for young Canadians

As reported by TCS’s Alexa Posa, the report titled “Whole-of-Government Five-Year Trends for Canada” was originally retrieved by Matt Malone, a law professor at BC’s Thompson Rivers University, after he filed an access to information request.

“The coming period of recession will … accelerate the decline in living standards that the younger generations have already witnessed compared to earlier generations,” the report reads.

“For example, many Canadians under 35 are unlikely ever to be able to buy a place to live,” the report states, adding that Canada’s situation will only “deteriorate further in the next five years.”

The report concludes that law enforcement should anticipate increased unrest over the next decade as Canada’s situation continues to decline and be prepared to respond to “unexpected crises”.

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