A new Gallup report explores how people around the world perceive the quality of their lives, as well as what they feel about the politics that govern their societies.
The “Global States of Mind” project draws upon a database of surveys compiled in dozens of countries that asked respondents to evaluate a series of categories, ranging from the state of law and order in their countries to their access to adequate food, shelter and jobs.
The maps above and below provide a sampling of two of the surveys. The first is a measure of how many people believe they are “thriving” in their lives. In some cases, the answers aren’t surprising: Few people in war-ravaged Syria and Afghanistan can express such positivity about their conditions, for example. And the wealthy social democracies of northern Europe and Canada have long topped the charts on a range of social and economic indicators.
But it also accounts for the optimism of many in countries whose economies are still developing — see, for example, the high percentage of people surveyed in Latin democracies Brazil and Mexico who say they are “thriving.” Singapore (not accounted for in the map), despite its considerable wealth, has a relatively low score.
The second map is a sampling of results of a survey that asked respondents whether they might leave their city or area in the next 12 months. The countries where such departures were most likely share certain obvious factors — unstable political environments, a lack of jobs and the presence of substantial diasporas elsewhere. (There are exceptions, of course, as the transience of expats in the United Arab Emirates is a world away from the perils faced by millions of Syrians displaced by civil war.)
It’s also interesting to note that some of the places where respondents were least likely to move were not prosperous societies but instead were countries where many are mired in poverty. Such hardships — compounded by corrupt or inept politics — can keep people feeling stuck where they are as much as they can spur them to start a new life elsewhere.
The Washington Post