Most and Least Emotional Countries Revealed

(Image credit: NASA/JPL)

Singapore and the Philippines may occupy a similar geographic corner of the world, but there's a vast emotional ocean between them.

A new Gallup survey found that Singaporeans are the least likely in the world to report either positive or negative feelings on a daily basis, while emotions run highest among Filipinos.

In a survey of more than 150 nations, Gallup conducted telephone and in-person interviews with about 1,000 people ages 15 and older in each country every year between 2009 and 2011. Residents were asked whether they experienced 10 different emotions a lot the previous day, including five negative emotions (anger, stress, sadness, physical pain and worry) and five positive emotions (feeling well-rested, smiling and laughing a lot, being treated with respect, enjoyment, and learning or doing something interesting).

Gallup averaged the percentage of residents in each country who answered "Yes" to such questions, finding that, at the low end of the spectrum, 36 percent of residents of Singapore experienced the range of these feelings daily. Georgia was the second most emotionless nation, followed by Lithuania, Russia, Madagascar and Ukraine. [List of World's Happiest (and Saddest) Countries]

Meanwhile, the Philippines topped the emotional charts with an average of 60 percent of its residents saying they felt these 10 emotions a lot on a daily basis. Ranking second was El Salvador, followed by Bahrain, Oman, Colombia, Chile and Costa Rica. The United States ranked 15th, with 54 percent of residents saying they experienced the set of negative and positive feelings daily.

Here are the 10 least emotional countries based on the percentage of respondents who answered "Yes" when asked whether they experienced a range of either positive or negative emotions daily:

  • Singapore: 36 (percent)
  • Georgia: 37
  • Lithuania: 37
  • Russia: 38
  • Madagascar: 38
  • Ukraine: 38
  • Belarus: 38
  • Kazakhstan: 38
  • Nepal: 38
  • Kyrgyzstan: 38

The 15 most emotional countries based on the same answers:

  • Philippines: 60 (percent)
  • El Salvador: 57
  • Bahrain: 56
  • Oman: 55
  • Colombia: 55
  • Chile: 54
  • Costa Rica: 54
  • Canada: 54
  • Guatemala: 54
  • Bolivia: 54
  • Ecuador: 54
  • Dominican Republic: 54
  • Peru: 54
  • Nicaragua: 54
  • United States: 54

With positive and negative emotions analyzed separately, Gallup found that residents of the Middle East and North Africa have the most negative feelings, led by Iraq, the Palestinian Territories and Bahrain. Latin America, meanwhile, is on top when it comes to positive feelings, with Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela ranking highest.

While countries with the highest negative emotions have been struck with economic hardship, riots, and revolutions, Gallup researchers say their findings suggest that simply boosting incomes might not be the solution. Although Singapore has one of the lowest unemployment rates and one of the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita rates, its residents hardly experience any positive emotions.

"Singapore leadership needs to consider strategies that lie outside of the traditional confines of classic economics and would be well-advised to include well-being in its overall strategies if it is going to further improve the lives of its citizenry," Gallup officials write in a statement.

Past research by Gallup reported in 2010 found that while the United States has the highest GDP per capita, the country came in at No. 16 for overall well-being and No. 26 for enjoyment, referred to as positive feelings. That study, detailed in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, included a representative sample of more than 136,000 people across 132 nations who were surveyed from 2005 to 2006.

The new poll has a margin of error of 0.4 to 3.8 percentage points, according to Gallup.

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