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Global survey finds that Africa is happiest region of the world

09 January 2015

by a staff reporter


ALTHOUGH people in parts of the continent have to live with the threat of the Ebola virus, poverty, and regional conflicts, the people of Africa are the happiest in the world, a survey carried out at the end of 2014 suggests.

The survey of more than 64,000 people around the world by WIN/Gallup organisation has been asking people since 1977 if they are happy, and if they believe that the world is getting better.

At the end of 2014, they found that, around the world, people were happier than in 2013: 70 per cent said that they were happy with their life, ten per cent more than in last year's survey. The happiest country in the world was Fiji, and the least happy, Iraq. In Europe, the happiest country was Finland, and the unhappiest, Greece.

When analysed by region, Africa scored highest: 83 per cent of its people said that they felt happy, or very happy. Africans were also the most optimistic: 75 per cent be- lieved that 2015 would be better than 2014, and that the coming year would be one of economic pros-perity.

In contrast, only 12 per cent of Western Europeans believed that 2015 would be a year of economic prosperity. In the UK, less than half (49 per cent) said that they were happy, and only a third thought that 2015 would be better than last year.

Warnings about continued debt may have affected people's expectations for economic prosperity: only 15 per cent believed that they would be better off in 2015. Across Western Europe, the expectations were equally gloomy: 40 per cent of people were braced for another difficult year.

Globally, however, the picture is different. More than half of those asked felt optimistic about 2015.

The President of the WIN/Gallup International Association, Jean-Marc Leger, said: "Whilst the outlook for the world's economy remains unpredictable, our happiness refuses to wane, and remains high across the globe. This year's survey also highlights that people across the world are increasingly optimistic."

In 2014 - 100 years on after the beginning of the First World War - people were also asked whether they would be prepared to fight for their country.

Respondents in Western Europe were least willing to fight: 51 per cent in the UK, and 68 per cent in Italy, said "No". In the Middle East and North Africa, 77 per cent of people were willing to fight for their country.

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