The World Is a (Mostly) Happy Place
Results from Gallup's "positive experience poll" are in
If you’re the kind of person who likes being surrounded by upbeat folks, you should probably move to Latin America—that is, if recent results from Gallup’s “positive experience index” are a reliable indicator of a nation’s joie de vivre.
NPR reports that Latin American countries dominate the top of Gallup’s poll, which asks people to gauge how they feel about their lives based on factors such as “experiencing lots of enjoyment, laughing or smiling a lot, feeling well-rested, and being treated with respect.”
Paraguay scored highest for the third year in a row, with 87 percent of participants claiming they feel positive emotions about their lives. Denmark was the only non-Latin American country to crack the top 10 with a score of 82 percent, while the United States came in 19th at 78 percent.
Syria had the lowest score, no doubt a reflection of the calamitous civil war that has been tearing the country apart since March 2011. Its score of 36 percent is an all-time Gallup low. Chad was next to last with 52 percent, and the overall average fell to 71 percent.
One thousand people were polled in each of the 138 participating countries. Gallup did not publish any data on how many of these people might have been overexposed to Pharrell Williams’s aggressively optimistic pop song, which could perhaps have bullied them into thinking they were more “happy” than they actually were.