The world’s happiest people tend to live in Latin America.
A new Gallup survey of 148 countries found that seven of the happiest 10 countries were in Latin America. Panama and Paraguay ranked the highest with 85 percent of the population saying that they were happy. El Salvador, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Guatemala, the Phillipines, Ecuador, and Costa Rica completed the top 10.
Luz Castillo, a 30-year-old surfing instructor in Guatemala, told the NY Daily News:
“In Guatemala, it’s a culture of friendly people who are always smiling. Despite all the problems that we’re facing, we’re surrounded by natural beauty that lets us get away from it all.”
The survey didn’t give any reason for why one place was happier than another but Carlos Martinez of Panama believes he knows the answer. Martinez said that people in the Caribbean don’t put a lot of importance on money. Instead, people in Latin America place a higher value on friends and family.
“Overall, I’m happy because this is a country with many natural resources, a country that plays an important role in the world … We’re Caribbean people, we’re people who like to celebrate, to eat well and live as well as we can. There are a lot of possibilities here, you just have to sacrifice a little more.”
ABC News reports that the survey also revealed the least happiest people in the world. Singapore was at the bottom of the list while Armenia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti were in the bottom five.
Richard Low, a 33-year-old businessman from Singapore, said:
“We work like dogs and get paid peanuts. There’s hardly any time for holidays or just to relax in general because you’re always thinking ahead: when the next deadline or meeting is. There is hardly a fair sense of work-life balance here.”
The United States found itself toward the top of the list but well outside of the top 10. According to Gallup, the United States has the 33rd happiest people.