Lebanon: Statistically The World's Angriest Country

Lebanon: Statistically The World's Angriest Country
Photo by Charbel Karam via Unsplash


Vivien Fakhoury

Middle East and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

Gallup, a well renowned, global analytics firm that collects data about our world and its people, annually releases a Global Emotions report. Their most recently released report measures the Positive and Negative Experience Indexes for 2021 and early 2022. The indexes measure people’s feelings and emotions, which cannot be accurately measured by economic indicators such as GDP. Survey questions include, “Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?” for positive or “Did you experience the following feelings during a lot of the day yesterday? How about anger?” for negative and the like.

Lebanon ranked second highest, just after Afghanistan and before Iraq, for the highest negative experiences worldwide. Likewise, Lebanon had the second-lowest positive experiences worldwide, just ahead of Afghanistan with the lowest and behind Turkey with the third-lowest. [1] Regarding each positive experience indicator: Lebanese were the least to experience enjoyment, the least well-rested, the third least to learn or do something interesting, and the third least to smile or laugh. [2] Regarding each negative experience indicator: Lebanese were the angriest, second saddest, second most stressed, and the third most worried of those surveyed. [3]

In recent years, the economic, financial, political, and social situation in Lebanon has been deteriorating. According to Gallup, “63% of Lebanese adults said they would like to leave the country permanently if they could.” [4] In fact, many have already left, resulting in brain drain. [5] Gallup’s life evaluation data and trends reflect the progress of Lebanon’s situation. From 2006 to 2018, Lebanese rated their lives an average of 5.0 on a scale from 0-10 (10 = the best possible life). In 2019, their life evaluation averaged at 4.0, when the survey was conducted shortly after the thawra (revolution) began and after which everything started going downhill. In 2020, their life evaluation averaged at 2.6, when the survey was conducted a few months after the 4th of August, Beirut Port explosion that tore Lebanon’s society apart. In 2021, this further dropped to 2.2, and Lebanese came right after Afghans with the worst life evaluation ratings. [6] 

Not only has Lebanon faced a dark year, but the global trends are also concerning. There is rising food insecurity; increased loneliness due to the pandemic with around 330 million adults not talking to a single friend or family member for at least two weeks; and increased global misery due to dissatisfaction with employment. What’s more is that the proliferation of social media allows for negative emotions to spread quickly and far, resulting in an increase in civil unrest. In conclusion, according to Gallup, in 2021 and early 2022 the positive experience index dropped and the negative experience index continues to rise, the world felt less well-rested and is more stressed. [7]

Gallup’s CEO Jon Clifton said, [8] “All over the world, people are trying to understand the rise of violence, hatred and increased radicalization. They will continue to argue over what the best policy responses should be and what role social media plays in fueling negative emotions. However, policymakers must understand why so many more people are experiencing unprecedented negative emotions and focus on the drivers of a great life.”

“Our shared humanity and wellbeing depend on it.”

Sources and Further Reading:

[1] All information up until this point was taken from: Gallup Analytics. (2022). Gallup Global Emotions Report 2022. https://www.gallup.com/analytics/349280/gallup-global-emotions-report.aspx 

[2] There are five positive indicators, regarding the last indicator - treated with respect - Lebanon was not in the top or bottom 5 ranks; Gallup Analytics. (n.d.). What Is the World's Emotional Temperature? Retrieved January 10, 2023, from https://news.gallup.com/interactives/248240/global-emotions.aspx 

[3] There are five negative indicators, regarding the last indicator - experienced physical pain - Lebanon was not in the top or bottom 5 ranks; Gallup Analytics. (n.d.) from [2].

[4] Ray, J. (2022, September 8). Who Are the Unhappiest People in the World? Gallup News. https://news.gallup.com/opinion/gallup/400667/unhappiest-people-world.aspx 

[5] Perry, T. (2020, July 21). Lebanon's turmoil fuels brain drain. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lebanon-crisis-brain-drain-idUSKCN24M1FW; Vohra, A. (2021, August 9). Lebanon Is in Terminal Brain Drain. Foreign Policy. https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/08/09/lebanon-terminal-brain-drain-migration/ 

[6] Ray, J. (2022, September 8).

[7] Gallup Analytics. (2022) from [1].

[8] Gallup Analytics. (2022) from [1].