Last updated: 09:00 / Thursday, 7 January 2016
WIN/Gallup Intl. Survey

66% of the World’s Population Feels Happy About Their Lives

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66% of the World’s Population Feels Happy About Their Lives
  • Colombia is the happiest country in the world (85% net happiness), in stark contrast the world’s unhappiest country is Iraq at -12% net happiness
  • The most optimistic country about economic prosperity in 2016 is Nigeria (61% net optimistic), Greece is the most pessimistic (-65% net optimistic) country
  • Bangladesh, China, Nigeria, Fiji and Morocco are the most hopeful nations, while Italy is the least hopeful

WIN/Gallup International, the world’s leading association in market research and polling, has published its 39th End of Year Survey exploring the outlook, expectations, views and beliefs of 66,040 people from 68 countries across the globe. Below some of the most revealing findings:

  • 66% of the world say that they feel happy about their lives, down from 70% in 2014; 23% are neither happy nor unhappy, and 10% feel unhappy about their lives
  • Net happiness (happy minus unhappy) globally is 56%
  • Colombia is the happiest country in the world (85% net happiness), followed by Fiji, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Vietnam while Iraq is the least happy for the second year in a row (-12% net happiness)
  • 45% of the world is optimistic about the economic outlook for 2016; 22% are pessimistic and 28% believe the economy will remain the same
  • The most optimistic country about economic prosperity in 2016 is Nigeria (61% net optimistic), followed by Bangladesh, China and Vietnam. In contrast, Greece is the most pessimistic (-65% net optimistic) country
  • A little over 1 person out of 2 (54%) believes 2016 will be better than 2015, 16% think it will be worse and 24% believe 2016 will be the same as 2015
  • Bangladesh, China, Nigeria, Fiji and Morocco are the most hopeful nations, while Italy is the least hopeful                

A happy world in 2015

As 2015 comes to an end, 66% of respondents to the WIN/Gallup International survey say that they are happy, down slightly from 70% in 2014. Of the 66,040 people surveyed, 10% said that they were unhappy, up 4% from 2014.  Overall that means that the world is 56% net happy (happiness minus unhappiness).  In 2015 the net happiest country in the world is Colombia (85%), in stark contrast the world’s unhappiest country is Iraq at -12% net happiness.

Economic Optimism high across the world

The study shows that 45% of the world is optimistic for the economic outlook in 2016 over double (22%) of those who are pessimistic.  It’s perhaps unsurprising that Greece is the most pessimistic (-65% net optimistic) country given their current perilous financial position.  The most optimistic nation when it comes to the economy is Nigeria (61% net optimism).  When it comes to a demographic breakdown young people prove to be considerably more optimistic than older generations with 31% net optimistic for the under 34s compared to just 13% for the over 55s.

Hope high amongst aspiring nations

As part of their analysis WIN/Gallup International has grouped the world into three tiers: Prosperous (the G7); Emerging (G20 excluding the original G7) and Aspiring (all others) nations.  Whilst there is huge disparity in income levels across these three tiers, the level of net happiness across all three (Prosperous 42%, Emerging 59% and Aspiring 54%) is notably high. However, the findings on hope and economic optimism vary markedly across the tiers.  According to the global poll, Prosperous nations display the least hope and economic optimism with 6% and -16% respectively; to the contrary Emerging nations are very hopeful about the future and far more optimistic about the economic outlook at 50% and 36% meanwhile the Aspiring nations sit between the two on hope (29%) and economic optimism (16%).

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