Survey shows happiness is on the rise

Sarah Parker
Authored by Sarah Parker
Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2014 - 00:07

As 2014 comes to a close, 70% of respondents to the WIN/Gallup survey say that they are happy, up 10% from 2013.

Of the 64,002 people polled just 6% declared themselves to be unhappy, compared to last year’s 12%, while those that are neither happy nor unhappy has remained stable, 23% against 26% last year.

Africa appears to be the happiest region in 2014 with 83% of those surveyed across the continent being content, followed by Asia (77%).  Meanwhile, those from Oceania, MENA and Western Europe are the least happy with 14%, 13% and 11% respectively responding that they are either unhappy or very unhappy.

Combined Eastern and Western Europe’s happiest country proved to be Finland where 80% said that they were content still someway shy of Fiji, this year’s happiest nation, where 93% said that they were either happy or very happy. 

On the reverse Eastern and Western Europe’s unhappiest nation this year was Greece where 24% of respondents said they were either unhappy or very unhappy, perhaps unsurprising given the recent economic turmoil in the country.   Again, this is someway short of the world’s unhappiest country which was Iraq where approximately one in three people (31%) said that they were either unhappy or very unhappy.

Optimism spreads

From a global perspective, the survey shows that approximately half (53%) of those asked about 2015 think it will be better than 2014, up by 5% from last year. The number of those who think it will be worse has dropped by 5% to 15%.  Africa (75%) and Asia (63%) are the most optimistic about next year. 

Conversely, Eastern Europe, MENA and Western Europe proved to be the most pessimistic regions with 28%, 27% and 26% respectively thinking that 2015 will be worse than 2014.

Nigeria proved to be the most positive country about 2015 with 85% of respondents thinking it will be better whereas Lebanon was most pessimistic with just 26% saying that they believe it will be better and 52% believing it will be worse.

Western economies on the slide?

When asked if next year would be one of economic prosperity, 42% of respondents believed it will be better whilst 23% believe it will be one of economic difficulty. 

However Western European countries respondents continue to believe that economies will struggle during 2015 with 44% believing next year will be the same as 2014 and 40% believing it will be a difficult year in contrast to just 12% who believe it will be one of economic prosperity.  This is a sentiment carried over from last year when 42% believed this year would be one of economic difficulty and 11% thought it would be one of prosperity. 

As well as being optimistic about 2015 as a whole, Nigeria also proved to be the most optimistic about the economy with 80% believing it will be a prosperous year. The most pessimistic countries surveyed were France, Serbia, Greece and Belgium where 57%, 56%, 54% and 54% respectively said that next year would be one of economic difficulty and only 6%, 15%, 12% and 4% respectively believing it would be a year of economic prosperity.

Would you fight for your country?

In the year that has marked the centenary of the start of the ‘Great War’ it is noteworthy to see how people responded to the question of whether they would be willing to fight for their country. 

Globally, 60% said that they would be willing to take up arms for their country while 27% would not be willing.  Western Europe proved the region most reticent to fighting for their country with just 25% saying that they would fight while about half (53%) stated that they would not fight for their flag. This contrasts sharply with people from the Arab countries of Middle East and North Africa who are the most likely to be willing to fight for their countries (77%) followed by those living in Asia (71%).

44% of respondents in the USA said they would fight for their country whereas the figure was just 27% in the UK, 29% in France and 18% in Germany. Despite being widely recognised for their neutrality, 39% of people from Switzerland said that they would be prepared to go to war for their country.  It was the Italians who proved to be least willing to bear arms for their country with 68% revealing they would refuse to do so.

Jean-Marc Leger, President of WIN/Gallup International Association, said: “Whilst the outlook for the world’s economy remains unpredictable our happiness refuses to wane and remains high across the globe.  This year’s survey also highlights that people across the world are increasingly optimistic and believe that 2015 is set to be a good year.”