The World’s Most (and Least) Emotional Countries

Print Email

5. Madagascar
> Pct. reporting all of above: 38% (tied-4th highest)
> Life expectancy: 66.7 years
> GDP per capita: $453.12
> Higher education enrollment: 3.7%

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world with an estimated GDP per capita at just $453.12 as of 2011. In recent years, the island country off the southeastern African coast has experienced relatively high inflation, reaching the low-double-digits. Both life expectancy and infant mortality, although far from the worst in the world, are generally substandard compared to developed countries. Nevertheless, Madagascar residents haven’t fallen into a state of pessimism. Only 2% of residents expect their lives to be worse in the next five years, which is one of the lowest rates in the world. In addition, only 22% of residents experienced negative emotions on a daily basis, less than highly developed countries such as the United States (32%) and France (29%).

4. Russia
> Pct. reporting all of above: 38% (tied-4th highest)
> Life expectancy: 68.8 years
> GDP per capita: $12,993.36
> Higher education enrollment: 75.9%

Russia has recovered well from the effects of the global financial crisis. The country’s unemployment rate, which jumped from 6.4% in 2008 to 8.4% in 2009, fell back to 6.5% last year. GDP also recovered, and after a severe 7.8% contraction in 2009, GDP rose by 4.3% in both 2010 and 2011. President Vladimir Putin has admitted that changes in trade policies arising from Russia joining the World Trade Organization would likely hurt the economy in the short run. The country joined the WTO in August after 18 years of  seeking membership. A recovering economy could explain why so few Russians compared to the rest of the world had negative feelings in 2011, when just 15% of citizens expected their lives to be worse in five years. Then again, with one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, it is unlike that an improved economy could improve the mood much.

Also Read: 13 Pro Teams Running Out of Fans

3. Lithuania
> Pct. reporting all of above: 37%
> Life expectancy: 73.3 years
> GDP per capita: $13,262.20
> Higher education enrollment: 74.0%

As of 2009, the Former-Soviet country had a 99.7% literacy rate, one of the highest rates in the world. However, the unemployment rate in the country was near 18% in 2010, and was over 15% in 2011. While employment has improved in recent years, the economy appears to be slowing. Lithuania elected leaders in last month’s parliamentary elections who vowed to raise the minimum wage and consider an overhaul of the tax system, which has caused some uncertainty in the economy.

2. Georgia
> Pct. reporting all of above: 37%
> Life expectancy: 73.3 years
> GDP per capita: $3,210.30
> Higher education enrollment: 28.2%

Although higher education enrollment in other former Soviet-countries such as Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine was in the 70% range, Georgia’s higher education enrollment was much lower at just over 28% in 2011. In October, Georgia voters replaced current pro-Western president Mikhail Saakashvili with billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that although Saakashvili has overseen policy implementation that has reduced crime and corruption and opened the small country up to foreign investment, the country’s poverty rate remains near 2003 levels, when the outgoing president first took office. Despite these issues, only 6% of Georgians expect their lives to be worse in the next five years.

1. Singapore
> Pct. reporting all of above: 36%
> Life expectancy: 81.6 years
> GDP per capita: $49,270.87
> Higher education enrollment: N/A

Singapore is a highly developed economy. The Asian country’s estimated GDP per capita in 2011 was higher than the U.S.’s $48,327.86, and it also had the lowest infant mortality rate in the world. Residents feel very safe in the country, with 88% of women and 91% of men feeling safe at night, one of the highest rates in the world. Singapore’s economy has almost doubled in the last ten years due to the country’s strong  financial, pharmaceutical, and electronic industries. While people in Singapore are the least emotional they certainly aren’t negative in their day-to-day life — the country was ranked the seventh-lowest in a 2011 Gallup survey studying negative emotions.