Countries That are Really Struggling Compared to America


World news does not always fully capture people’s level of happiness or unhappiness. Last year, a Gallup poll found a majority of people in the world experienced positive emotions. Of course, in some countries and regions, people were much more positive than others.

The people living in the most miserable countries were the least likely to report high levels of enjoyment, smiling and a good night’s sleep. Based on how often they displayed these emotions, 24/7 Wall St. determined the world’s most miserable countries.

According to Jon Clifton, managing director of the World Gallup Poll, a person’s financial situation is one of five factors affecting well-being, but it is far from a conclusive indicator. Nine of the most content countries had estimated GDPs of less than $15,000 per capita last year. In Lithuania — the third most miserable country — GDP per capita was $22,566. On the other hand, Nicaragua — the third most content country — had a GDP per capita of just $4,548.

The state of a country’s economy, however, can play a major role in determining the quality of its residents’ experiences. Four of the most miserable countries had estimated inflation rates of at least 5 percent last year. In Belarus, it was as high as 17.5 percent.

Latin Americans reported both the highest levels of positive emotions and the highest levels of negative emotions and are perhaps the most emotional region in the world, Clifton said. Former members of the Soviet Union, however, are the opposite. “They’re just not reporting a lot of emotions in general,” Clifton said.

In some cases, it is quite obvious why people report low positive emotions. For example, Syria, which had the lowest well-being score ever recorded by Gallup, is in the midst of a bloody civil war.

To identify the countries with the least-positive experiences, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Gallup’s recent Positive Experience Index, which measured the experience of well-being the day before the survey in 138 countries. Respondents were asked whether they experienced lots of enjoyment, laughed or smiled a lot, felt well-rested, and were treated with respect. 24/7 Wall St. also reviewed economic data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Life expectancy figures came from the World Bank.

Click ahead for the 10 countries reporting the lowest positive emotions. Then head over to 24/7 Wall St. for a list of the 10 most-content countries.

SOURCE: Thomas C. Frohlich, 24/7 Wall St.
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