The WIN/Gallup International network releases their end of year poll. The world is more economically confident than it was this time last year but European countries dominate the gloomy list. Latin Americans remain significantly more happy than the rest of the world.
Results from the latest WIN-Gallup International global barometer poll of 55,817 adults suggest that just over a third (35%) of the world are hopeful about their country’s economic prospects in 2013, while 28% expect it to be worse than the year which is just ending.
However, there are vast differences across the globe. The Georgians, perhaps boosted by their recent change in President, are the most optimistic when it comes to economic prosperity, followed by their neighbours in Azerbaijan. We have to move at least half way down the list of countries before a European country emerges. Indeed, there is not a single European country that has a positive net score (meaning that more people think there will be more economic difficulty before economic prosperity). Indeed, with the exception of Lebanon, the bottom 15 countries are all European. The only positive note for the European countries is perceptions aren’t as bad as they were last year: 2011 Western Europe average was -46 on economic confidence vs -40 this year. There is a similar picture in North America: 2011 average -25 vs. -12 for 2012.
The global survey was carried out by the world’s largest independent network of opinion pollsters, WIN-Gallup International in over 54 countries, among more than 56,625 men and women, covering vast majority of world population. The network has conducted this annual poll for 35 years since 1977.
As an issue, we are all too familiar about the dominance of the economy in recent times. However, what impact is this having on overall happiness? Well a majority of the world (53%) say they feel happy about their life and here there is slightly less of a pattern to the list of countries. The Colombians report as the happiest in the world (net score of +75), followed closely by the Malaysians (+74), Brazilians (+74) and the Saudis (+72). We then begin to see a mix of European countries showing that there is happiness alongside economic difficulty. In Spain for example, the net score for economic prosperity is -59 yet the net score for happiness is +55. Indeed, there are only three countries surveyed where more people feel unhappy than happy – Romania, Palestine territories (West Bank and Gaza) and Lebanon, the latter no doubt with events on Syria close to their minds.
Finally, when it comes to overall optimism for 2013, there is a similar pattern to that found for economic prosperity. Globally, the net score of +28 indicates that the world is more optimistic than pessimistic for 2013. Georgians and Azeris are once again the most optimistic, with the Brazilians in third. Yet the majority of European countries surveyed have a net negative score – suggesting that more people believe 2013 will be worse in Europe than 2012. The situation in Portugal looks particular concerning more her people – net score of -71.