People across the world were unhappier and more stressed out as the world went into its second year under the coronavirus pandemic in 2021.
According to a Gallup 2022 Emotions Rep ort, 2021 served up a steady diet of uncertainty with the world becoming a slightly sadder, more worried and more stressed-out place than it was the year before — which helped push Gallup’s Negative Experience Index to yet another new high of 33 in 2021.
Gallup asked adults in 122 countries and areas in 2021 if they had five different negative experiences on the day before the survey — and compiled the results into an index. Higher scores on the Negative Experience Index indicate that more of a population is experiencing these emotions.
In 2021, four in 10 adults worldwide said they experienced a lot of worry (42%) or stress (41%), and slightly more than three in 10 experienced a lot of physical pain (31%). More than one in four experienced sadness (28%), and slightly fewer experienced anger (23%).
Already at or near record highs in 2020, these experiences of stress, worry and sadness ticked upward in 2021 and set new records. Worry rose two points, while stress and sadness increased one point each. The percentage of adults worldwide who said they experienced pain also rebounded two percentage points, matching levels more in line with previous years’ estimates.
However, there was one bright spot: Reports of anger did not increase in 2021, dropping a single point from 24% in 2020.
Afghans were the least positive and most negative even before Talibani took over the country.
In Africa, Senegal was the most positive followed by South Africa.
Zimbabwe was neither among most positive and the least positive, or the least negative and the most negative.