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Singapore Ranks as Least Emotional Country in the World

Singapore Ranks as Least Emotional Country in the World

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Singaporeans are the least likely in the world to report experiencing emotions of any kind on a daily basis. The 36% who report feeling either positive or negative emotions is the lowest in the world. Filipinos, on the other hand, are the most emotional, with six in 10 saying they experience a lot of these feelings daily.

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See the full list of countries on page 2.

Gallup measures daily emotions in more than 150 countries and areas by asking residents whether they experienced five positive and five negative emotions a lot the previous day. Negative experiences include anger, stress, sadness, physical pain, and worry. Positive emotions include feeling well-rested, being treated with respect, enjoyment, smiling and laughing a lot, and learning or doing something interesting.

To measure the presence or absence of emotions, Gallup averaged together the percentage of residents in each country who said they experienced each of the 10 positive and negative emotions.

Negative emotions are highest in the Middle East and North Africa, with Iraq, Bahrain, and the Palestinian Territories leading the world in negative daily experiences. Latin America leads the world when it comes to positive emotions, with Panama, Paraguay, and Venezuela at the top of that list.


Behavioral indicators such as positive and negative emotions are a vital measure of a society's well-being. Leaders worldwide are starting to incorporate such behavioral-based indicators into the metrics they use to evaluate their countries because they realize that traditional economic indicators such as GDP and 40-hour workweeks alone do not, and cannot, quantify the human condition.

While higher incomes may improve people's emotional well-being, they can only do so to a certain extent. In the United States, for example, Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman and Princeton economist Angus Deaton found that after individuals make $75,000 annually, additional income will have little meaningful effect on how they experience their lives. Consider this finding in the context of Singapore, a country with one of the lowest unemployment rates and highest GDP per capita rates in the world, but a place where residents barely experience any positive emotions. This research shows that it will take more than higher incomes to increase positive emotions or decrease negative 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.

Read more about Singapore's emotion deficit in Bloomberg Businessweek.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact us.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, in each country each year between 2009 and 2011. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranges from ±0.4 percentage points to ±3.8 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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