WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup in 2012 published more than 100 articles about the attitudes and behaviors of residents in more than 140 countries. Through its World Poll, Gallup systematically tracks and reports on well-being, leadership approval ratings, confidence in national institutions, employment rates, and other important issues affecting people's daily lives. The following list includes Gallup editors' picks for the top 10 most fascinating world news discoveries of the year.
- Greeks lead the world in pessimism: Forty-two percent of Greeks in 2011 rated their future lives worse than their current lives. Greeks' hopelessness likely reflects the government's debt crisis and the political and economic uncertainty in the country. As seen in Egypt and Tunisia, lower life evaluation ratings indicate the potential for significant social unrest.
- A majority of Libyans approved of U.S. leadership before Benghazi attack: Fifty-four percent of Libyans approved of U.S. leadership in March and April 2012, among the highest approval Gallup has ever recorded in the Middle East and North Africa region, outside of Israel. Before the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, many Libyans desired a strong relationship with the U.S. and appreciated U.S. support during the Libyan revolution.
- Singaporeans are the least emotional; Filipinos are the most emotional: The 36% of Singaporeans who report feeling either positive or negative emotions on a daily basis is the lowest in the world. Filipinos are the most emotional in the world, with 60% saying they experience positive or negative emotions each day. Bonus finding: Latin Americans are among the most positive people worldwide.
- Worldwide, 27% of adults were employed full time in 2011: According to Gallup's Payroll to Population employment metric, 27% of adults worldwide were employed full time for an employer in 2011. Gallup finds this new measure of employment to be more strongly related to GDP per capita than any other employment metric, including unemployment, which is traditionally the leading employment measure but relates little to GDP.
- Employment gender gap exists in one-fourth of countries: Women were less likely than men to be employed at capacity in 38 of the 144 countries where Gallup collected employment data in 2011. Ecuador and Saudi Arabia had the largest differences (23 percentage points) between men and women working full time or part time without wanting full-time work. Bonus finding: Women are less likely than men to feel safe walking alone at night in many high-income nations.
- Fewer Haitians are "suffering": Haitians rated their lives more positively in 2011 than they did before the earthquake in 2010. Eighteen percent of Haitians rated their lives poorly enough to be suffering in 2011, down from 27% in 2010.
- Egyptians want government to prioritize jobs and the economy: Before President Mohammed Morsi took office, Egyptians of all political parties cited job creation and unemployment as the top issue the government should address. These priorities contrast with the government's actual focus since President Morsi took office.
- European Union residents less confident in their own countries' banks: EU residents' confidence in their own countries' financial institutions dropped to 34% in 2012 from 39% in 2011. Residents in many EU countries were less confident in their country's financial institutions in 2012 than they were during the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.
- An untapped financial services market in sub-Saharan Africa: Thirty-one percent of all adults in the 11 sub-Saharan countries surveyed used only informal cash payments, such as informal money carriers, to transport money across the country, while 9% used only electronic payments.
- Iranians divided over developing nuclear power for military use: Fifty-seven percent of Iranians support developing Iran's nuclear power capabilities for non-military purposes, while 40% approve of developing nuclear power for military use.
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For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.