Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

This is the world’s happiest country, according to a global emotions report


A comprehensive measure of the world’s emotional wellbeing has revealed the happiest country of 2017 – and amazingly, it’s not in Scandinavia.

Countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark regularly top happiness polls, but not according to the latest litmus test from the folks over at Gallup.

The data service has scrutinised the emotional states of people from 142 countries, for the third edition of its annual Global Emotions Report.

The survey offers insight into people's feelings and behaviours by conducting phone or by face-to-face interviews with residents in destinations as far-flung as Liberia, Chile, Iran and Greece.

Costa Rica, the second happiest nation in the Gallup report

Costa Rica, the second happiest nation in the Gallup report

Although feelings are notoriously difficult to pin down, pollsters do so by asking questions such as whether subjects feel well-rested, respected, and whether they enjoyed themselves the day before.

For negative experiences, they ask about feeling physical pain, worry, sadness, stress and anger the day before, Live Science reports.

Read more: The happiest places to live in the world

Their analysis this year revealed that Paraguay – where around 60% of people live in poverty – is the happiest nation on earth. 

This landlocked South American country is home to just over six million people; one of the region’s least dense populations. Up to 95% of Paraguayans are mestizos, people of mixed Spanish and native American descent. 


A local woman sells souvenirs on the streets of Paraguay's capital, Asunción

This isn’t the first time Paraguay has triumphed in the report’s positive experience list, and it’s joined by a host of other South and Central American countries in the top 10 category. 

Gallup researchers attributed this to “the cultural tendency in the region to focus on life’s positives”.

Their analysis highlights the way in which higher GDP does not necessarily equate to greater life satisfaction.

The overall picture is positive, however. More than 70 percent of people worldwide reported that they smile or laugh a lot, and that they felt enjoyment, well-rested and treated with respect, Gallup said.

Read more: The UK’s top 10 happiest jobs

Worldwide, 36 percent of people said they experienced worry, while 35 percent reported stress, and 30 percent reported physical pain, the report found.

Greeks are officially the most stressed nation on earth, while Iraq topped the negative experience list.

Syria was not included this year because of its ongoing war but a number countries that top the negative experience list are caught up in conflict. They all suffer from extreme poverty levels.

Take a look at the full lists, below.


Norway ranked in the top 10 for countries with the most positive experiences

The countries with the highest positive experiences 2017

  1. Paraguay
  2. Costa Rica
  3. Panama
  4. Philippines
  5. Uzbekistan
  6. Ecuador
  7. Guatemala
  8. Mexico
  9. Norway
  10. Chile
  11. Colombia
Iraq topped the negative experience list

Iraq topped the negative experience list

The countries with the highest negative experiences 2017

  1. Iraq
  2. South Sudan
  3. Iran
  4. Liberia
  5. Central African Republic
  6. Togo
  7. Chad
  8. Sierra Leone
  9. Uganda
  10. Gabon

Images: iStock


hot air balloon.jpg

The world's first hot air balloon bar is coming to the UK

the ledbury cake.jpg

Three of the world's best restaurants are in London


Get ready: the world's first ever craft beer hotel is coming


Revealed: the world’s best cities to live in

London didn't even make the top 50...

by Sarah Biddlecombe
16 Aug 2017

Discover an unspoilt corner of Sicily

With miles of wild, sandy beaches, a rich history and even richer cuisine, Stylist falls for south-east Sicily

by The Stylist web team
15 Aug 2017

You could rent a private Caribbean island for under £500

All your holiday dreams are about to come true

by Megan Murray
09 Aug 2017

8 Disney castles you can actually visit in real life

08 Aug 2017

Swim off Shetland's secret beaches

Wild swimming doesn't get much wilder than Scotland's shores; Stylist leaps in

by Anna Hart
08 Aug 2017

Is the ‘wanderlust gene’ the reason why you can’t stop travelling?

Some research suggests that thrill-seekers share a certain gene. But that isn’t the whole story

by Moya Crockett
04 Aug 2017

The world’s best sleeper train routes

Time to bunk up, from the UK to Europe and beyond

by Anna Brech
02 Aug 2017

This is how to find the cheapest flights on the internet

Less money spent on flights equals more money for the aperol spritz budget

by Sarah Biddlecombe
02 Aug 2017

Grab some friends and escape to a Balearic paradise

Stylist heads to a Mallorcan villa in search of sun, seclusion and stunning views

by Stylist
01 Aug 2017

Retreat to a fantasy pad in northern Cornwall

Stylist is one of the first to stay at the UK's coolest self-catering bolthole

by Susan Riley
25 Jul 2017