The 10 happiest countries on the planet
The Gallup 2017 Global Emotions report is in, revealing a few surprises about which nations are feeling the most positively about things.
Each year we eagerly await the World Happiness Report, if only just to make sure that Scandinavia didn’t get knocked off its perch. And each year we are assured that indeed, Nordic nirvana reigns supreme. But that report, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), tends to rank things through the lens of sociology and economics – GDP per capita; healthy years of life expectancy; and so on. Meanwhile, there’s another report that looks at things a bit differently.
The second one is the Gallup 2017 Global Emotions Report, which simply measures people's positive and negative daily experiences. Like: Did you feel well-rested yesterday? Were you treated with respect all day yesterday? Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday? Or, on the other hand: Did you experience the following feelings during a lot of the day yesterday? Worry? Physical pain? Stress? It's more of a subjective indication of happiness and, well, misery. Like other reports of this ilk, the data can be used to help leaders know what they're dealing with to better shape policy.
In all, five positive and five negative questions were posed during nearly 150,000 interviews with adults in 142 countries. The answers provide a glimpse into the emotional well-being, and lack thereof, of people across the globe.
“Gallup’s Positive and Negative Experience Indexes measure life’s intangibles – feelings and emotions – that traditional economic indicators such as GDP were never intended to capture,” notes the report. “Each index provides a real-time snapshot of people’s daily experiences, offering leaders insights into the health of their societies that they cannot gather from economic measures alone.”
Here’s how the countries ranked, highest scores correlating to most positivity, with the most surprising thing of all: No Scandinavian country until #9!
Highest Positive Experiences Worldwide1. Paraguay: 84
2. Costa Rica: 83
3. Panama: 82
4. Philippines: 82
5. Uzbekistan: 82
6. Ecuador: 81
7. Guatemala: 81
8. Mexico: 81
9. Norway: 81
10. Chile: 80
11. Colombia: 80
The United States ranked 38, with an index score of 75, tying with eight other countries: Luxembourg, Germany, Bolivia, Brazil, Austria, the United Kingdom, Mali and South Africa.
On the other end of the spectrum are the countries that expressed the most negative feelings; the higher the score, the more plentiful the negative experiences.
Highest Negative Experiences Worldwide1. Iraq: 58
2. South Sudan: 55
3. Iran: 52
4. Liberia: 52
5. Central African Republic: 48
6. Togo: 48
7. Chad: 47
8. Sierra Leone: 47
9. Uganda: 46
10. Gabon: 43
Poor Iraq has had the highest Negative Experience Index score for four of the last five years, and has been in the top five since 2008.
But while the majority of Iraqis reported experiencing stress and worry, they were neither the most stressed in the world nor the most worried. Greece beat them in the stress department, with more than two in three residents (67 percent, the highest of all the countries) saying they has been stressed. Worry was highest in the world in civil-war-torn Central African Republic (72 percent) and in Togo (71 percent).
Curiously, the report also looked at which countries replied “yes” the most to both positive and negative queries. Ecuador, El Salvador, Liberia and the Philippines topped the list of the most emotional countries in the world. They may not be the happiest or most negative counties on the planet, but the most passionate – which wouldn't be the worst claim to fame.
The full report can be downloaded here: Gallup 2017 Global Emotions Report