As Abraham Lincoln said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Paraguayans, more than any other nationality, are making up their minds to really be happy. A recent Gallup study has found – for the third year in a row – that the country with the happiest people in the world is Paraguay.
It’s not just Paraguay that’s happy; 10 of the 11 most joyous nations are in Latin America. Only Denmark prevented a Latin American sweep of the top 11, tying Costa Rica and Colombia for 6th place, all achieving a Positive Experience Index of 82 of 100, slightly below Paraguay’s top score of 87.
“That so many people are reporting positive emotions in Latin America at least partly reflects the cultural tendency in the region to focus on the positives in life,” says the Gallup report.
Globally, people are pretty happy. “At least seven in 10 adults worldwide report experiencing lots of enjoyment, laughing or smiling a lot, feeling well-rested, and being treated with respect,” Gallup reports, “while a slight majority (51 percent) report that they learned or did something interesting the day before.” In 2013, researchers measured happiness by asking 1,000 people in 138 countries whether they had experienced these positive emotions the previous day. Gallup then compiled the “yes” results into a Positive Experience Index score for each country.
Here’s a look at a map with the worldwide results.
Global happiness has been pretty constant, with a slight increase since 2006.
Here’s a look at the list of happiest and least happiest countries. Two years into a brutal civil war, Syria scored the lowest marks ever recorded, achieving a score of 36, well behind the second saddest country, Chad with 52. Fewer than one in three Syrians reported feeling well-rested (31%), feeling enjoyment (31%), or learning or doing something interesting (25%) the day before.
In case you need to see some proof that Paraguayans are happy, click here