People in Latin America are the happiest in the world, according to data from Gallup. On its “Positive Experience Index,” Paraguay placed first globally, followed by Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ecuador.
“That so many people are reporting positive emotions in Latin America at least partly reflects the cultural tendency in the region to focus on the positives in life,” Gallup researchers wrote in their report.
In 2013, Gallup polled 1,000 adults in 138 countries to ask them whether they had experienced enjoyment, laughed or smiled a lot, felt well-rested and were treated with respect, as well as other questions that helped determine their rank on the index.
Denmark is the only non-Latin American country to make the top 10, ranking highest in the percentage of people who say they are “thriving.”
On the bottom half of the index, Syria scored just 36 -- the lowest score Gallup has ever recorded. Less than one of three Syrians said they felt well rested or were learning or doing something interesting.
Meanwhile, Bhutan, home of the Gross National Happiness index, ranked No. 82 among 138 countries, due to one key category. “The lack of respect Bhutanese believe they receive may be keeping their overall score lower than one might expect,” the researchers wrote, adding that just 47 percent of Bhutanese respondents said they were treated with respect. On the bright side, they’re the most well-rested country in the world.
The researchers wrote that these insights “would not have been uncovered solely through traditional economic indicators.”
Below are all the countries surveyed, ranked on the Positive Experience Index: