Mapping Global Well-Being

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This map from the Gallup Organization shows the well-being levels of the nations of the world.

Gallup Well Being Map

Gallup collected the data through from interviews and telephone surveys with individuals across 155 nations between 2005 and 2009. It distinguishes three categories of well-being - suffering (low levels), struggling (medium levels), and thriving (high levels).

More than half of Americans (57 percent) report they are thriving, while 40 percent say they are "struggling," and three percent report they are "suffering."

The highest levels of "thriving" are found in Northern European, Scandinavian, and Nordic countries - Denmark (82 percent), Finland (75 percent), Norway (69 percent), Sweden (68 percent), and the Netherlands (68 percent).

Relatively high levels of "thriving" are also found in Australia (62 percent), New Zealand (63 percent), Canada (62 percent), Israel (62 percent), Switzerland (62 percent), and Costa Rica (63 percent).

High levels of "suffering" and "struggling" are found in many African nations, in Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, in Asian nations like Cambodia, Laos, and Mongolia, and in Bulgaria, Latvia, and Albania, as well as Haiti. 

China fares poorly on this index of well-being,despite its tremendous rate of economic growth and rise as the "world's factory." Just nine percent of Chinese respondents report they are "thriving," while 77 say they are "struggling," and 14 percent report they are "suffering."

The Gallup study finds a "clear well-being divide between the wealthier countries of northern, western, and central Europe and some poorer countries within eastern and southern Europe."

Stay tuned for more on this early next week.

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Richard Florida is Co-founder and Editor at Large of CityLab.com and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative ClassWho's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He's also the founder of the Creative Class Group, and a list of his current clients can be found here
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