Why So Serious? World Happiness at its Lowest in 10 Years
Conflict-hit Central African Republic (CAR) was the world’s unhappiest place last year, with Iraq in second place, according to the ranking by pollsters Gallup.
“Collectively, the world is more stressed, worried, sad and in pain today than we’ve ever seen it,” the group’s managing editor, Mohamed Younis, wrote in a foreword to the study.
Gallup surveyed more than 154,000 people in 146 countries on whether they had felt pain, worry, stress, anger or sadness the previous day. It said the global mood was at its gloomiest since the first such survey in 2006.
According to the latest results on Gallup's Negative Experience Index. The index, which annually tracks people's experiences of stress, anger, sadness, physical pain and worry, reached a new high of 30. https://t.co/c5UcjaNfNQ pic.twitter.com/mLoALIXAGw— GallupNews (@GallupNews) September 12, 2018
Sub-Saharan Africa led the way, with 24 of 35 countries surveyed reaching a 10-year happiness lows in 2017, often due to civic unrest crippling healthcare systems and causing people to go hungry.
“In CAR and some of these other places, high percentages of the population are just struggling to afford the basics,” the study’s lead author, Julie Ray, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
People Around the World Experienced Record Levels of Stress and Pain in 2017, Study Says - "Last year was the worst in at least a decade for people across the globe, according to Gallup’s annual Global Emotions report." @TIMEHealth @Jamie_Ducharme https://t.co/v3huIlQl0q— Transamerica Center for Health Studies (@TCHS) September 12, 2018
CAR has been ravaged by violence, with most of the country now beyond the control of the government, and about three in four residents said they experienced pain and worry.
Wealthier countries were not immune to the dip in mood. About half the Americans interviewed said they were stressed – roughly the same proportion of respondents as in the CAR.
Economist Jan-Emmanuel De Neve said it was “disturbing” to see the global mood souring against a backdrop of rising wealth and material progress.
More than ever, we need to help each other (and other of course). This survey of the emotional lives of more than 154,000 people around the world confirms what we know w/ our hearts. https://t.co/jEjYtj81W9— Barbara J King (@bjkingape) September 12, 2018
“There is probably a more structural indicator around the increasing wealth not being inclusive enough,” said De Neve, an associate professor at the University of Oxford who has written about the link between income and happiness.
Paraguay topped a second table of most positive countries, in which residents were asked if they felt well-rested, had been treated with respect, enjoyed themselves or learnt something the previous day. War-torn Yemen and Afghanistan came bottom.