Young people in developing nations are at least twice as likely to feel happy about their lives than their counterparts in the developed ones, says a survey.
Indians are the happiest overall, while Japanese are the most miserable.
In a global survey by MTV Networks International (MTVNI), which covered more than 5,400 young people in 14 countries, only 43 per cent of the world's 16- to 34-year-olds said they were happy with their lives.
MTVNI said this figure was dragged down by young people in the rich countries, including those in Britain and the United States, where fewer than 30 per cent of young people said they were happy. Only eight per cent in Japan said they were happy.
The reasons for unhappiness across the developed world included a lack of optimism, concerns over jobs and pressure to succeed.
In developing countries, the majority of people in the same age group expected their lives to be more enjoyable in the future.
"The happier young people of the developing world are also the most religious," the survey said.
The MTVNI survey took six months to complete and has resulted in the Wellbeing Index which compares the feelings of young people, based on their perceptions of safety, on their notions of where they fit into society and how they see their future. In the overall Wellbeing Index, India came on top, followed by Sweden.
"In developing countries, economic growth is on the go. So logically there should be optimism and a positive feeling," said Bill Roedy, president, MTVNI.