Latin Americans Most Positive in the World

Latin Americans Most Positive in the World

by Jon Clifton

Singaporeans are the least positive worldwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Latin Americans are the most positive people in the world, with their region being home to eight of the top 10 countries for positive emotions worldwide. Residents in Panama and Paraguay are the most likely to report experiencing positive emotions. Singaporeans, Armenians, and Iraqis are least likely worldwide to report feeling positive emotions.

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Gallup measured positive emotions in 148 countries and areas in 2011 using five questions. These questions ask people whether they experienced a lot of enjoyment the day before the survey and whether they felt respected, well-rested, laughed and smiled a lot, and did or learned something interesting.

The average percentage of respondents worldwide who said "yes" to these five questions reflects a relatively upbeat world. Gallup found that 85% of adults worldwide felt treated with respect all day, 72% smiled and laughed a lot, 73% felt enjoyment a lot of the day, and 72% felt well-rested. The only emotion that less than half of people worldwide reported experiencing was getting to learn or do something interesting the previous day, at 43%. Despite many global challenges, people worldwide are experiencing many positive emotions.


These data may surprise analysts and leaders who solely focus on traditional economic indicators. Residents of Panama, which ranks 90th in the world with respect to GDP per capita, are among the most likely to report positive emotions. Residents of Singapore, which ranks fifth in the world in terms of GDP per capita, are the least likely to report positive emotions.

Higher income does not necessarily mean higher wellbeing. Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman and Princeton economist Angus Deaton found in the United States that income only makes a significant impact on daily positive emotions when earning up to $75,000 annually -- after that, additional income does not make as much of a difference. Leaders who are looking for ways to further improve the human condition in their countries -- especially those societies such as Singapore that are doing well on traditional economic indicators, but not necessarily behavioral metrics -- need to do more to incorporate wellbeing into their leadership strategies.

See page 2 for results for all countries surveyed.

Read about the most and least emotional countries in the world.

Read about negative emotions around the world.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact us.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in 2011 in 148 countries and areas. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranged from ±3.4 percentage points to ±3.9 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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