WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup in 2013 published more than 70 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.
- Worldwide, only 13% of employees are "engaged" at work. Roughly 180 million employees are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations. The bulk of employees worldwide -- 63% -- are "not engaged"; they lack motivation and are less likely to invest in organizational goals or outcomes. Twenty-four percent are "actively disengaged"; they are unhappy, unproductive, and liable to spread negativity. Bonus finding: Northern American leads the world in workplace engagement.
- Global Payroll to Population rate drops to 26%: Twenty-six percent of the world's adult population was employed full time for an employer in 2012, down slightly from 27% in 2011. This decline reversed the upward trend in Gallup's Payroll to Population measure since the height of the global recession in 2009. Bonus finding: Globally, men are twice as likely as women to have "good jobs."
- The world remained glum about job prospects: Fifty-seven percent of adults worldwide said it was a bad time to find a job in their local communities last year, unchanged from 2011. Recession-ravaged Europe remained the global epicenter of job market pessimism, while the Americas continued to lead the world in job market optimism.
- More than one in five worldwide lives in extreme poverty. Gallup's self-reported household income data across 131 countries indicate that more than one in five residents (22%) live on $1.25 per day or less. In 86 countries, more than 3% of the population lives on $1.25 per day or less.
- Migrants may be born entrepreneurs. Gallup interviews with nearly 25,000 first-generation migrants reveal migrants living in high-income economies are more likely than the native-born to have three traits that differentiate entrepreneurs from the rest: they feel optimistic even when things go wrong, they never give up, and they are willing to take risks.
- South Asia leads world in "suffering." Suffering, on average, has increased worldwide in the past several years, and nowhere more than in South Asia. One in seven adults worldwide rated their lives poorly enough to be considered suffering in 2012. Twenty-four percent in South Asia were suffering, followed by 21% in the Balkans and the Middle East and North Africa.
- Most Iranians feel squeezed by international sanctions. Eighty-five percent of Iranians say these sanctions have hurt their own livelihoods, but 68% also say their country should continue to develop nuclear power despite the scale of these sanctions.
- Egyptians' views of their government crashed before President Mohamed Morsi was deposed in July. Gallup polls in Egypt two weeks before Morsi's ouster showed 29% of Egyptians expressed confidence in their national government -- the lowest level Gallup has measured since the revolution began there in 2011. Bonus finding: Suffering increased in Egypt.
- Syrians see no quick end to the conflict in their country. The majority of Syrians interviewed in June and July expect the conflict to last at least one or two more years. Thirty-seven percent are either themselves displaced or have immediate relatives who are displaced in Syria or who have sought refuge outside the country.
- Security better in Iraq without Americans. A little more than one year after the last U.S. military vehicles exited their country, more Iraqis report security to be better (42%) than worse (19%) as a result of the U.S. withdrawal.
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For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.