Gallup asked adults in 143 countries in 2018 if they had ve positive experiences on the day before the survey. At least seven in 10 people worldwide said they experienced a lot of enjoyment (71%), felt well-rested (72%), smiled or laughed a lot (74%) and felt treated with respect (87%). People were far less likely, as is typical, to say they learned or did something interesting the day before the interview, and in 2018, still less than half of the world (49%) experienced this.
Scores worldwide ranged from a high of 85 in Paraguay and Panama to a low of 43 in Afghanistan. Paraguay has led the world on this metric since 2015. Afghanistan was at the bottom of the list for the second consecutive year, with its score dropping ve points from the previous year.
As they do year after year, Latin American countries dominated the list of countries in 2018 where adults reported feeling a lot of positive emotions each day. The single country outside this region that made the most positive list was Indonesia, which has appeared in the top group since 2017.
The high percentages reporting positive emotions in Latin America at least partly re ect the cultural tendency in the region to focus on life’s positives. The single variable that Gallup nds to be predictive of results on both the Positive and Negative Experience Indexes is country of origin, suggesting some cultural bias exists in how people answer these questions.
Several of the countries and regions with the worst scores on the Positive Experience Index were going through some type of turmoil — political, economic and otherwise — in 2018.
Conflict-ridden Afghanistan, for example, posted the lowest Positive Experience Index score in the world for the second year in a row.
However, its score of 43 is even lower than the year before and re ects how devastating the negative cycle of poverty and violence has been to Afghans’ daily experiences. For example, the 36% of Afghans who said in 2018 that they smiled or laughed the previous day tied a record low for any country in the past 12 years.
The next-lowest score is 48 in Belarus. This marked a new low for the country that was rocked by a corruption scandal in 2018 that led to the removal of the country’s prime minister and high-ranking o cials.
After Belarus, Yemen’s index score of 50 was the next-lowest and essentially unchanged from 2017. As the country’s civil war continues, the security situation there remains so dangerous that more than 50% of the interview population was either substituted or excluded.
Turkey, a country where the economy began to slide in 2018, also registered a score of 50 on the index. The country has since entered a recession — ending 18 years of continuous economic growth.
Meanwhile, Lithuania stayed 5th (51 score) from the bottom on the list of 10 countries with the lowest positive experiences worldwide.
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