World happiness levels are at their lowest level in over a decade, with the number of people who say they feel stressed and worried rising, according to a survey published on Wednesday.
The conflict-hit Central African Republic (CAR) was the world’s unhappiest place last year, with Iraq in second place, according to the ranking by pollster Gallup.
“Collectively, the world is more stressed, worried, sad and in pain today than we’ve ever seen it,” the group’s managing editor, Mohamed Younis, wrote in a foreword to the study.
Gallup surveyed more than 154,000 people in 146 countries on whether they had felt pain, worry, stress, anger, or sadness the previous day. It said the global mood was at its gloomiest since the first such survey in 2006.
Sub-Saharan Africa mainly led the way, with 24 of 35 countries surveyed reaching 10-year happiness lows in 2017, often due to civic unrest crippling healthcare systems and causing people to go hungry.
“In CAR and some of these other places, high percentages of the population are just struggling to afford the basics,” the study’s lead author, Julie Ray, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.