Israelis are happier than Italians and Palestinians, but have a far less positive outlook on life than do the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, a survey by Gallup released Wednesday showed.
Gallup Inc.’s poll, which questioned nearly 150,000 people around the world, showed seven of the 10 countries with the most upbeat take on life were in Latin America. The surveying body asked about 1,000 people in each of 148 countries last year if they were well-rested, had been treated with respect, smiled or laughed a lot, learned or did something interesting and felt feelings of enjoyment the previous day.
In Panama and Paraguay, 85 percent of those polled said yes to all five, putting those countries at the top of the list. In the US 76% of people answered yes to all the questions, as did people in Sweden, China, Chile and Swaziland.
Israelis were also cheerful for the most part, with 68% of those surveyed responding yes to all five questions.
While many surveys have found that Israelis have better opportunities than Western Europeans, and up and coming health and education systems, a number of other factors may turn smiles upside down, like the security situation, a high cost of living and a less than sunny economic outlook.
Fifty-eight percent of the Palestinians polled answered yes to all the questions.
The people least likely to report positive emotions lived in Singapore, the wealthy and orderly city-state that ranks among the most developed in the world. Other wealthy countries also sat surprisingly low on the list. Germany and France tied with the poor African state of Somaliland for 47th place.
While most surveys attempt to capture objective measures, usually financial ones, this poll took into account people’s feelings. To some it might be a surprise and to others a given, but what is evident in the results is that money doesn’t buy happiness.