Stress Levels Fall Globally, But Negative Experiences Rise in Countries in Conflict

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The world was beset by conflict in 2023 — as the war between Ukraine and Russia dragged on and a new one broke out between Israel and Hamas — but it was in a better place emotionally than it was at the height of the pandemic. Negative emotions tumbled for the first time in a decade and positive emotions rebounded to their pre-pandemic highs.

The Gallup Global Emotions 2024 Report offers a snapshot from Gallup’s latest measurements of people’s positive and negative daily experiences. The findings are based on nearly 146,000 interviews with adults in 142 countries and areas in 2023.

Gallup’s Positive and Negative Experience Indexes measure life’s intangibles — feelings and emotions — that traditional economic indicators such as GDP were never intended to capture. Each index provides a real-time snapshot of people’s daily experiences, offering leaders insights into the health of their societies that they cannot gather from economic measures alone.

Israel Goes From One of the Best to One of the Worst on Negative Experiences

Afghanistan no longer scores the worst on the Negative Experience Index. Guinea took the top spot in 2023 with a score of 53, as the country continued to grapple with deadly protests and uncertainty after the 2021 military coup.

Not far behind was Israel, which Gallup surveyed two weeks after the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7. It earned a spot on this list for the first time with a score of 47 — on par with Afghanistan and Liberia. In 2022, Israel ranked among the countries with the lowest scores in the world on this index.

Israel’s index score was inflated by record-level surges in negative emotions in the aftermath of the attacks. Majorities of Israelis experienced worry (67%), stress (62%) and sadness (51%) at unprecedented levels. Over one in three Israelis (36%) said they experienced a lot of anger — not a new high, but still the highest percentage since 2013.

Globally, Negative Experiences Declined as Stress Levels Fell

On a global level, Gallup’s Negative Experience Index declined for the first time since 2014. All five negative emotions that make up the index fell between 2022 and 2023, but stress levels dropped the most. Thirty-seven percent of the world felt stressed in 2023, down three percentage points from the previous year, but notably remaining well above where it was a decade ago (33%) and the years before that.

Worldwide, stress was still present everywhere, although to varying degrees. Reported stress was above 60% in Northern Cyprus (65%) and Israel (62%) and below 10% in Kyrgyzstan (8%).

Israel led the world in increased stress, with levels soaring 38 points to a new record high. Other countries also saw double-digit increases, including Latvia (17 points), Kuwait (14 points) and Egypt (13 points).

Positive Experience Index Rebound Complete

Further reinforcing that 2023 was a better year for the world’s emotional health, positive experiences rebounded to their pre-pandemic levels, completing the recovery that started in 2022.

People younger than 30 continued to be the most positive of all age groups. Further, their positivity rebounded faster, with emotions bouncing back a year earlier than their older peers. Most of the improvement on the index in 2023 occurred among those aged 30 and older.

Afghanistan Scores Lowest in the World on the Positive Experience Index — Again

Along with Afghanistan, most countries and territories that scored the lowest in the world on positive experiences in 2022 also scored the lowest in 2023. Northern Cyprus was no exception: The territory’s score of 46 is its lowest on record.

Lebanon and Türkiye also scored near the bottom of the rankings, as they have since 2020. However, Lebanon’s Positive Experience Index continued to rebound in 2023. At 47, Türkiye’s score remained statistically unchanged from the previous year (45).

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The Gallup World Poll is the most comprehensive and farthest-reaching survey of the world. The survey connects with more than 99% of the world’s adult population through annual, nationally representative surveys with comparable metrics across countries. The Gallup World Poll is used to measure and track progress on several U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and is the official statistic for work and life for more than 55 indexes and metrics associated with the most important aspects of individuals’ lives, their communities and their countries.