The World’s Most (and Least) Emotional Countries

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The Most Emotional Countries

5. Colombia
> Pct. reporting all of above: 55%
> Life expectancy: 73.6 years
> GDP per capita: $7,114.33
> Higher education enrollment: 39.1%

Between 2009 and 2011 just 29% of Columbia’s residents had negative feelings on a daily basis, less than any of the other most emotional countries. Colombians were also extremely optimistic about the future, with just 7% of those surveyed in 2011 saying they believed their lives would be worse in five years. In recent years, the South American country’s economic growth accelerated sharply, with GDP growth jumping from 1.7% in 2009 to an estimated 5.9% in 2011. Recently the country cut interest rates as growth has been slowing. There’s also a growing chance that peace talks may finally resolve the conflict between the government and rebel group FARC, ending five decades of violence.

4. Oman
> Pct. reporting all of above: 55%
> Life expectancy: 73.3 years
> GDP per capita: $23,572.36
> Higher education enrollment: 24.5%

Oman residents experience much more positive emotions than negative ones at 79% vs 31%, according to the Gallup survey. According to another recent Gallup survey, 69% of all adults in Oman, located on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, believe their local job market is good, tied with Saudi Arabia for the highest among all countries. Perhaps that is why the Arab Spring left the country relatively untouched. Former leader Sultan Qaboos also implemented reforms, including the creation of government jobs, a minimum wage hike and cost-of-living allowances to public-sector employees, to prevent the protests that took place in other countries. Despite these  gestures, the country has cracked down on free speech as of late, with scores of people arrested in 2011 and 2012 for publishing critical opinions of the Sultan on the Internet.

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3. Bahrain
> Pct. reporting all of above: 56%
> Life expectancy: 75.2 years
> GDP per capita: $22,918.17
> Higher education enrollment: N/A

Residents of the Persian Gulf island country of Bahrain are among the world’s most emotional countries. They are also among the most likely to have negative feelings. From 2009 to 2011, 45% of resident surveyed told Gallup they experienced negative emotions daily. Last year, residents were more likely to have negative emotions than those of every other country surveyed except for Iraq and the Palestinian Territories. The government used many means to break up protests during the Arab Spring, and protesters often claimed police brutality. In one incident, the country’s military forces opened fire on protesters. In December, a United Nations team will travel to Bahrain to address the kingdom’s recent human rights record.

2. El Salvador
> Pct. reporting all of above: 57%
> Life expectancy: 71.9 years
> GDP per capita: $3,854.98
> Higher education enrollment: 23.4%

Among the most emotional countries, the Central American country of El Salvador is the most positive, with 83% of people claiming to feel positive emotions on a daily basis. Residents were likely to experience negative emotions as well. Of those surveyed by Gallup between 2009 and 2011, 31% reported having daily negative emotions, with the proportion even higher at 35% in 2011 alone. Last year, 20% of residents also claimed to be pessimistic about their lives in the near future, one  of the world’s higher rates.

1. Philippines

> Pct. reporting all of above: 60%
> Life expectancy: 68.8 years
> GDP per capita: $2,344.89
> Higher education enrollment: 28.9%

The Philippines is the world’s most emotional country. Of residents surveyed between 2009 and 2011, 82% claimed to have experienced positive emotions daily and 37% claimed to have experienced negative emotions. Although GDP per capita remains lower than 98 other nations Gallup surveyed, at an estimated $2,344.89 in 2011, the Philippines has grown significantly. Holding prices constant, the country’s GDP has risen 7.6% in 2010 and 3.9% in 2011. Despite a slowdown in the world’s developed economies, both Filipino consumers and the government continue to spend, offsetting slowing export growth.

Michael B. Sauter, Alexander E. M. Hess and Samuel Weigley

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