WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The media storm that erupted after police arrested six young Iranians for dancing to the Pharrell Williams song "Happy" in an online video prompted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to tweet, "Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy." Iran's leadership is right to be concerned about the country's happiness. Gallup's most recent rankings of positive emotions find Iran at 93 on a list of 138 countries. Iranians also reported the highest negative emotions in the world, second only to Iraq.
Gallup measured negative emotions in 138 countries in 2013 by asking people whether they experienced a lot of anger, stress, sadness, physical pain, and worry the previous day. Gallup compiles the "yes" results into a Negative Experience Index score for each country. The higher the score, the more pervasive negative emotions are in a country.
Iranians have every right to feel negative, given the high unemployment coupled with high inflation in their country that has crippled their ability to provide for their families, along with international sanctions over their nuclear program that have hurt their livelihoods. Additionally, 48% of Iranians in 2013 said they would not recommend their city or area where they live to a friend or associate as a place to live.
Iran is among the highest ranked in the world with respect to negative emotions and far too low in self-reported positive emotions. There is probably no better time in Iran for happiness videos.
For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact us.
Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults in each country, aged 15 and older, conducted in 2013 in 138 countries and areas. For results based on the total global sample, the margin of sampling error is less than ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. For results based on country-level samples, the margin of error ranges from a low of ±2.1 to a high of ±5.3. 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.