What is the state of mind of Internet users in the world?

As we might have guessed, money cannot buy happiness: the richest are not especially the happiest, and poorest are not the most grumpy ones. Thanks to Emolytics, it is possible to establish the top 20 of the most optimistic countries as well as the top 20 of the saddest countries in the world.

During the year 2015, more than 440,000 people answered the Emolytics surveys on websites or in emails from 199 countries around the globe. Out of these data, Emolytics was able to find the happiest and saddest countries in the world for that year. Here it the top and bottom 20 results.

TOP 20

The results are quite insightful and surprising as very few European countries are represented (only 3, with just one of the so-called “Western Europe”), while Latin America and Africa, with their legendary tradition of joy of living are the most represented with respectively 7 countries from Latin America and 7 for Africa (3 of which being in the top 5). Asia is tight with Europe with only 3 countries represented.
1. Zambia (Africa)
2. Togo (Africa)
3. Zimbabwe (Africa)
4. Costa Rica (Latin America)
5. Macedonia (Europe)
6. Benin (Africa)
7. Uruguay (Latin America)
8. Chile (Latin America)
9. Sri Lanka (Asia)
10. Georgia (Caucasus & Central Asia)
11. Burundi (Africa)
12. El Salvador (Latin America)
13. Nigeria (Africa)
14. Bulgaria (Europe)
15. Iceland (Europe)
16. Argentina (Latin America)
17. Bolivia, Plurinational State of (Latin America)
18. Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of (Latin America)
19. Kazakhstan (Caucasus & Central Asia)
20. Guinea (Africa)


The most represented regions in the bottom 20 are the Europe with 8 nations, the Middle East, with 4 countries, followed by Asia (3 countries), the Caribbean (2 islands), Africa (2 countries) and Latin America (1 country). It must be noted that the USA are at the 21st position in this ranking of the saddest countries in the world.
1. Kuwait (Middle East)
2. French Guiana (Latin America)
3. South Africa (Africa)
4. United Kingdom (Europe)
5. Cambodia (Asia)
6. Jersey (Europe)
7. Austria (Europe)
8. Germany (Europe)
9. Finland (Europe)
10. Lebanon (Middle East)
11. Haiti (Caribbean)
12. Sweden (Europe)
13. Oman (Middle East)
14. Dominican Republic (Caribbean)
15. Thailand (Asia)
16. Mauritius (Africa)
17. Singapore (Asia)
18. Cyprus (Europe)
19. Luxembourg (Europe)
20. Saudi Arabia (Middle East)

The wealthiest countries of the world seem among the less positive region to live in.

Other countries of interest

We wanted to include the position of some other countries of interest in this ranking:

  • France is at the 83th place, just before Japan or Ireland.
  • On the other hand, Belgium is at the position 94 in the ranking, behind India, Russia or Israel, but just before Canada.
  • Spain is near to the top of the ranking, at the 25th position, with a small advance on Brazil (36th) but far ahead of Portugal which is only at the 59th rank of the happiest countries of the world, just behind The Netherlands at the 58th position.
  • As you zoom on the map, you will also notice that Syria and Somalia are deep in the red.

We did not included them in our bottom 20 as the sample size was not relevant enough (people there have certainly other things to do than completing web surveys) but with a higher sample size, there is little doubt those countries would have made the bottom 5 of our ranking.

What is the happiest and saddest week of the year?


The happiest and saddest period of the year has always been subject to discussion in the popular literature, and Emolytics finally comes with empirical data. Some patterns can be found in some behaviors, as David McCandless showed it with the most frequent period of romance break-ups peaking at the end of February and beginning of March and two weeks before Christmas.

That pattern in world population happiness seems to be observed again with Emolytics data as it appears that February is the saddest period of the year, with mid-December, just before a peak in happiness for the end-of-year celebrations.

On the other hand, the happiest period of the year is clearly observed at the end of summer.

Happiest days of the week


A last but yet fundamental question for many readers remains: what is the happiest day of the week? Fortunately enough, it appears that the common sense is safe here: the end of the week is always preferred to the first days of the week, while we have a small peak of hope and happiness on Wednesday. Monday is definitely the most depressing day of the week.

How were those data collected and computed?

Emolytics collect its data from thousands of websites owned by its clients or from other channels such as emails. The surveys are displayed as engaging and high response rate survey modules as seen below.


Emolytics used then its unique and proprietary KPIs: the Emoscore © (gauging the emotional impact of a content, based on years of research in psychology and in emotional valence and arousal) and the Net Positivity Index (NPI) which is the difference of the proportion of positive individuals with the proportion of negative individuals (similar to the Net Promoter Score – NPS – in some way).


We also only kept the countries where the number of votes were high enough to have a relevant error margin. That was made possible to the huge response rate of our engaging surveys who have collected millions of answers to date.

David is an entrepreneur and a digital marketing professional with 17+ years’ experience. He owns an Executive MBA from the Louvain School of Management. He also gives lectures in Belgian business schools.

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