Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Relatively poor Central American countries report highest levels of satisfaction

A recent poll has found that maybe money really doesn't buy happiness. People in moderate to poor Latin American countries report the highest levels of personal satisfaction, whereas the wealthy nation of Singapore is ranked the lowest.

Guatemala, a country torn by decades of civil war followed by waves of gang-driven crimes has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Guatemala ranks seventh in positive emotions.

Guatemala, a country torn by decades of civil war followed by waves of gang-driven crimes has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Guatemala ranks seventh in positive emotions.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

12/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Latin America, happiness, ranking, Gallup poll, misery

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Affluent European nations such as Germany and France were found to be as glum as the chaotic country of Somalia. Qatar, the richest country in the world, and Japan, where people have the longest life expectancy were not on the top 10 list of happiest countries. 

The poll of nearly 150,000 people around the world found that seven of the world's 10 countries with the most upbeat attitudes are in Latin America.

Questions posed by the Gallup Poll asked about 1,000 people in each of 148 countries if they were well-rested, had been treated with respect, smiled or laughed a lot, learned or did something interesting and felt feelings of enjoyment the previous day.

In Panama and Paraguay, 85 percent of those polled said yes to all five, putting those countries at the top of the list. These two countries were then closely followed by El Salvador, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Guatemala, the Philippines, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

Guatemala, a country torn by decades of civil war followed by waves of gang-driven crimes has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Guatemala sits just above Iraq on the United Nations' Human Development Index, a composite of life expectancy, education and per capita income - but it ranks seventh in positive emotions.

"In Guatemala, it's a culture of friendly people who are always smiling," Luz Castillo, a 30-year-old surfing instructor says. "Despite all the problems that we're facing, we're surrounded by natural beauty that lets us get away from it all."

Not surprisingly, the poll shows that prosperous nations can also be deeply unhappy ones. Poverty-stricken countries are often awash in positivity, or at least a close approximation of it.

"Happiness economics," a relatively new and controversial field seeks to improve government performance by adding people's perceptions of their satisfaction to traditional metrics such as life expectancy, per capita income and graduation rates.

As an example, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan famously measures policies by their impact on a concept called Gross National Happiness.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which unites 34 of the world's most advanced countries, recently created a Better Life Index allowing the public to compare countries based on quality of life in addition to material well-being.

However - there are some experts who claim that such an approach could allow governments to use positive public perceptions as an excuse to ignore problems. The Gallup poll, some say may have been skewed by a Latin American cultural proclivity to avoid negative statements regardless of how one actually feels.

At the bottom of the list are such countries as Armenia, Georgia and Lithuania, where misery is something a little more ephemeral.

"Feeling unhappy is part of the national mentality here," Agaron Adibekian, a sociologist in the Armenian capital, Yerevan says. "Armenians like being mournful; there have been so many upheavals in the nation's history. The Americans keep their smiles on and avoid sharing their problems with others. And the Armenians feel ashamed about being successful."


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Americas

Behind the Scenes: Pope Francis' influence in home country, Argentina Watch

Image of Pope Francis is the first Pope from Argentina.


Pope Francis' cunning personality has forged ties with global powers and has managed to sway political leaders on tough issues, like those involving Cuba and Syria. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope's charismatic and canny personality not only appeared to ... continue reading

Donald Trump's head, specifically his head, is now worth $100 million Watch

Image of This head is worth a cool $100 million, a fact which can only make it bigger.


Donald Trump's head, specifically his head, is now worth $100 million. Sinaloa drug cartel boss, EL Chapo Guzman has reportedly increased the bounty on Trump, asking him to be delivered "dead or alive." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - El Chapo is the leader of the ... continue reading

Two of Mexico's most dangerous criminal imprisoned on U.S. soil Watch

Image of Forty-two-year-old Valdez, who also goes under the name of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two of Mexico's most violent and dreaded criminals are now imprisoned on U.S. soil. Edgar "La Barbie" Valdez Villarreal and Jorge Eduardo "El Coss" Costilla Sanchez are among the most notorious of 13 suspects sent to the U.S. in an unusually high-level judicial ... continue reading

Cuban President pressured by Obama to make moves Watch

Image of


President Barack Obama has broadened opportunities for Americans to spend money, travel, and open businesses in Cuba following two rounds of regulatory reforms since December. While America has been on the move, it seems Cuba has limited its movements to reopening its ... continue reading

Cuba's homeless mysteriously vanish prior to the papal visit Watch

Image of Cuba's homeless vanish before Pope Francis' visit and reemerge just as mysteriously afterward.


The streets of eastern Holguin, Cuba are now flooded with homeless people, following Pope Francis's visit; the homeless went missing during the Pope's tour of the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dozens of homeless now re-flood the streets of eastern ... continue reading

First U.S. Hispanic Saint: Pope Francis to canonize Junipero Serra during U.S. visit Watch

Image of Father Junipero Serra's canonization will

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis and the Vatican have announced plans to canonize the Blessed Junipero Serra during the Pope's visit to the United States on September 23. Serra will become the United States' first Hispanic saint. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Often times, the ... continue reading

The 'silent genocide' of the Brazilian Guarani tribe Watch

Image of Guarani tribe members were promised land in 1993 and have yet to see it, so they fight (Survival International).

By Talia Ramos

One of the oldest tribes in South America, the Guarani Indian tribe, was displaced after ranchers claimed their lands, forcing them to sleep on roadsides. Due to their persecution from the politically-powered land owners, the surviving Guarani people have been asking ... continue reading

South American femicide continues to increase at shockingly high rates Watch

Image of Rape, murder, and kidnapped victims in Mexico continues to increase.


Aidé Nava, a mayoral candidate and mother from Ahuacuotzingo Village in Mexico was found decapitated on the streets of her own town. Gangsters are believed to be behind several kidnappings where women are tortured, raped and decapitated.  MUNTINLUPA CITY, ... continue reading

Why Pope Francis' last speech in Cuba was a masterstroke of genius Watch

Image of Pope Francis has become a political force to be reckoned with.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis concluded his visit to Cuba by delivering a masterful speech calling for a new revolution in the socialist country. He delivered his speech just before departing on Tuesday. Though steeped in religious tones, the call to action is courageous and clear. LOS ... continue reading

'It's like a sign of God': Costa Rican community amazed by unusual cloud formation Watch

Image of Beautiful display of cloud iridescence.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last Tuesday a cloud phenomenon occurred in Costa Rica, leaving people both mystified and horrified. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Several cities such as San Jose, Parrita, Pavas, Escazu and Hatillo reported the colorful cloud anomaly. Hundreds posted ... continue reading

All Americas News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 1:16-25
16 For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:37-41
37 He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 13th, 2015 Image

St. Edward the Confessor
October 13: Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his ... Read More