The happiest and saddest countries in the world

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

Gallup Inc. asked roughly 1,000 people in each of 148 countries the following questions: Did you feel well-respected yesterday? Were you treated with respect all day yesterday? Did you laugh or smile a lot yesterday? Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday? Did you experience the following feelings during a lot of the day yesterday? How about enjoyment?

Here are the 10 the countries where the highest percentage of people answered “yes” to all five questions, and the nine countries with the lowest percentages:


Panama, 85 percent

Paraguay, 85 percent

El Salvador, 84 percent

Venezuela, 84 percent

Trinidad and Tobago, 83 percent

Thailand, 83 percent

Guatemala, 82 percent

Philippines, 82, percent

Ecuador, 81 percent

Costa Rica, 81 percent


Singapore, 46 percent

Armenia, 49 percent

Iraq, 50 percent

Georgia, 52 percent

Yemen, 52 percent

Serbia, 52 percent

Belarus, 53 percent

Lithuania, 54 percent

Madagascar, 54 percent


These data may surprise analysts and leaders who solely focus on traditional economic indicators. Residents of Panama, which ranks 90th in the world with respect to GDP per capita, are among the most likely to report positive emotions. Residents of Singapore, which ranks fifth in the world in terms of GDP per capita, are the least likely to report positive emotions.

Higher income does not necessarily mean higher wellbeing. Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman and Princeton economist Angus Deaton found in the United States that income only makes a significant impact on daily positive emotions when earning up to $75,000 annually — after that, additional income does not make as much of a difference.

Leaders who are looking for ways to further improve the human condition in their countries — especially those societies such as Singapore that are doing well on traditional economic indicators, but not necessarily behavioral metrics — need to do more to incorporate wellbeing into their leadership strategies.

Source: Gallup Inc.

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