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

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Anna Brech
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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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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

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


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.