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The New Global Inequality

Watch Gallup's CEO, Jon Clifton, discuss the concerning trend of rising unhappiness around the world. For more insights like this, order your copy of Blind Spot today.

Below is a full transcript of the video, including time stamps. Full audio is posted above.

Jon Clifton 0:05
I'm Jon Clifton from Gallup. Today, I'm here to share with you one of the most concerning trends, and it has to do with how people feel. People now report feeling more stress, more sadness, more physical pain, more worry, and more anger than at any point in the history of our tracking. You might be thinking, "Gee, Jon, why is that surprising? The world just suffered its worst pandemic in 100 years and one of its worst economic contractions ever. So why would I be surprised?" Well, if you're not surprised, it's because you are one of the leaders who have a blind spot to how people feel -- because the global rise of unhappiness was not entirely due to the pandemic.

Jon Clifton 0:47
Extreme anger, stress, sadness, physical pain and worry have all been rising for 10 straight years. This trend represents the global rise of unhappiness across 140 countries, and every world leader missed it. But does it matter? Does it matter if global misery is rising? It should. Today's trend is the worst kind of emotions, and it is being driven by an inattention to the multidimensionality of a great life. Leaders often focus on money and jobs, but they don't focus on the quality of jobs or the quality of our relationships. These blind spots are why 22% of the world does not have a single friend they can count on in a time of need or why 3 billion people are currently miserable in the workforce.

Jon Clifton 1:40
We found that there are five elements to a great life. They are: work wellbeing, financial wellbeing, community wellbeing, physical wellbeing and social wellbeing. The have and have-nots are no longer being separated by just money. The new global inequality is what is called wellbeing inequality, which is the have and have-nots of a great life. Twenty percent of the world almost could not rate their lives any better. And on the other hand, 20% of the world could not rate their lives any worse, and the gap is widening. What's more, the people rating their life worse are watching those on social media who are having it better. This is what is deepening the misery in the world. We cannot improve the world if we do not know how it is doing, and we cannot blame the global rise of unhappiness on the pandemic alone. If we do, unhappiness will only worsen.

Jon Clifton 2:39
Thank you for listening -- and especially for listening to how the world is reporting on how it feels. For more information on how Gallup reports this and other global findings in over 140 countries each year, please visit

Learn more about where the world is suffering and what leaders can do to improve how people's lives are going. Preorder Blind Spot today.

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