The 10 Best (And Worst) Countries For Overall Well-Being

The 10 Best (And Worst) Countries For Overall Well-Being Hero Image

The latest Gallup and Healthways well-being survey has been released, combining more than 133,000 surveys in 135 countries to determine which has the most satisfied population overall. The winner? Panama, of course!

It is difficult to determine what "well-being" means in the first place, let alone which nation's people have the highest levels of it (as demonstrated by the Gallup-Healthways U.S. cities rankings). For the purposes of this report, researchers divided the surveys into five categories:

  • 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.

To determine the countries with the highest levels of well-being, researchers determined the percentage of people in each nation who say "they are thriving in three or more of the five elements" of overall well-being. The top 10 are below, with percentage of people who are thriving in at least three well-being categories indicated in parentheses:

1. Panama (61%)

2. Costa Rica (44%)

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3. Denmark (40%)

4. Austria (39%)

5. Brazil (39%)

6. Uruguay (37%)

7. El Salvador (37%)

8. Sweden (36%)

9. Guatemala (34%)

10. Canada (34%)

The United States ranked 12th overall, with about a third of its population indicating they are thriving in three or more of the five well-being components.

If you're wondering why so many Latin American countries -- many of which do not compare favorably in economic terms with the world's most industrially developed nations -- made the top 10, researcher point to a "Latin American cultural predisposition that is associated with higher levels of positive thinking than other regions." The power of positive thinking for the win!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the countries reporting the lowest levels of well-being are war-torn and impoverished nations:

1. Syria (1%)

2. Afghanistan (1%)

3. Haiti (3%)

4. Democratic Republic of the Congo (5%)

5. Chad (5%)

6. Madagascar (6%)

7. Uganda (6%)

8. Benin (6%)

9. Croatia (7%)

10. Georgia (7%)

What do you think of these findings? What is YOUR nation's level of well-being? Let us know!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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