Special Report

Most Miserable Countries in the World

Detailed Findings

Among the biggest problems residents in these countries face is the lack of freedom to make life choices. Connected with that are ongoing conflicts in many of these nations such as Syria and Afghanistan. Fewer than 40% of people surveyed in three countries — Angola, Haiti, and Sudan — believe they have the freedom to make life choices.

Social support also lags behind in many of these countries, with only 30.6% of those polled in the Central African Republic believing they have a social network.

The perception of corruption in these countries is demonstrably higher than that in the happiest nations. More than 80% of those surveyed in 11 of the 25 most miserable nations think their government is corrupt. In Ukraine, that number is more than 92%.

The misery in these nations is also reflected in their healthy life expectancy. Ukraine and Syria are the only countries among the 25 most miserable nations where healthy life expectancy exceeds 60 years. In four countries — Burundi, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Lesotho — the healthy life expectancy is less than 50 years.

Even so, resilience and a desire for change among many of these nations’ peoples are evident. With that comes a glimmer of hope.

Maybe by next March 20, which is World Happiness Day, some of these nations won’t be appearing on the most miserable list.