The World's Most Miserable Country

Based on the wars in Sudan and Ukraine, it would seem easy to pick the world’s most miserable nation. However, a new study shows it is neither of them. (These 27 countries are facing the worst climate change catastrophes.)

National Review ranked 157 nations based on its misery index. It considered unemployment, inflation, bank-lending rates and the percentage change in gross domestic product (GDP). The researchers argue the best way to “mitigate misery” is economic growth. That makes it narrower than other organizations with misery measures by their own yardsticks.

The research methodology is old: “The misery-index idea originated with Arthur Okun, a distinguished economist who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during President Johnson’s administration.”

The most miserable country was Zimbabwe, with a misery index of 414.7. That score is much higher than the next country on the list, Venezuela, with an index of 330.8. Syria follows with an index of 225.4, and Lebanon is next with an index of 190.3. Sudan shows up with a misery score of 176.1.

Ukraine is in eighth place among the most miserable nations, scoring 110.0.

Switzerland is at the far end of the spectrum, with a score of only 8.5. Kuwait follows it with an index of 8.6. The United States has the 24th-best score at 16.9.

According to the World Factbook, the Zimbabwean government suppresses opposition with extreme violence. GDP per capita ranks 212th in the world at $2,100. Some 38% of residents live below the poverty line.

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