Inhabitants of Latin American are the happiest people in the world, according to a survey by U.S. research firm Gallup. For the first time in Gallup’s 10-year history of tracking global happiness, the top 10 countries with the highest Positive Experience Index scores are all in Latin America.
Topping the list are Paraguay, Colombia and Ecuador. “There is much to be learned from Latin America on this International Day of Happiness because while they aren’t the wealthiest people in the world, they are certainly among the happiest,” says the report released to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness.
At the bottom of the list are conflict-ridden South Sudan and Ukraine, Ebola-stricken Liberia, and Syria, where Islamic State militants are wreaking havoc.
The ranking illustrates that there is little correlation between income and happiness. “Money isn’t everything in life. Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 118th in terms of GDP (nominal) per capita, yet when it comes to positive emotions, it ties for second,” the report notes.
The research demonstrates that there is much to be learned from Latin America: “Although they aren’t the wealthiest people in the world, they are certainly among the happiest.”
To gauge happiness levels, researchers interviewed about 1,000 people in each country, either in person or over the phone. They posed questions about the way they were enjoying life, how many times they smiled or laughed in a day and whether or not they felt treated with respect.