International wellbeing index

The largest ever international survey of wellbeing has found that people from Latin America report the greatest wellbeing whilst those from sub-Saharan Africa are the least likely to be thriving.

The Global Well-Being Index is a global barometer of individuals' perceptions of their wellbeing and is the largest recent study of its kind. Data collected in 2013, across 135 countries and areas, and with more than 133,000 interviews, have been compiled into the State of Global Well-Being, a comprehensive report presenting the global demographics of wellbeing. One in six adults worldwide are considered thriving in at least three of the five elements of wellbeing, with Panama coming top of the poll and Syria and Afghanistan bottom. The UK came in 26th.

The Global Wellbeing Index is organised into the five elements:

  • Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

In analysing the results of the index, the pollster Gallup classified responses as "thriving" (wellbeing that is strong and consistent), "struggling" (wellbeing that is moderate or inconsistent), or "suffering" (wellbeing that is low and inconsistent).