Map: The Countries That Feel the Most Love in the World

Where is the love? The Philippines, apparently.
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Couples kiss during a mass wedding ceremony in the Philippines on Valentines Day Eve. (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco)

This week, in honor of Valentine's Day, the Philippine government sponsored mass-wedding ceremonies for hundreds of couples. It seemed fitting for a country that marked Valentine's Day 10 years ago by setting a world record for the number of couples simultaneously kissing for 10 seconds (the final tally: 5,122). And it's also appropriate for a country where a whopping 93 percent of people report feeling loved.

That last stat comes from what the economist Justin Wolfers has described as "the most comprehensive global index of love ever constructed." In 2006 and 2007, Gallup asked people in 136 countries whether they had experienced love the previous day. The researchers found that on a typical day, roughly 70 percent of the world's population reports feeling love. The world leader in love turned out to be the Philippines, where more than 90 percent said they had experienced love, and the world's laggard Armenia, where only 29 percent of respondents did. In the United States, 81 percent replied in the affirmative. (Click on the map to expand it.)

Gallup data; created with Datawrapper (Click to expand)

The map offers some broad lessons. Love appears to be flourishing in the Americas, achieving mixed results in Africa, and languishing in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. But Wolfers cautions against reading too much into the data. "[D]ifferences between countries may be due to how cultures define 'love' and not in actual day-to-day experiences," he writes. "For example, in some countries, the idea of 'love' is restricted to a romantic partner, while in others it extends to one's family members and friends."

Wolfers and his wife, the economist Betsey Stevenson, crunched the global data and arrived at some fascinating conclusions, including that feeling loved peaks when people are in their mid-30s or mid-40s, and that unmarried couples who live together report getting more love than married spouses. But perhaps their most interesting findings involved the complex relationship between money and love:

What’s perhaps more striking is how little money matters on a global level. True, the populations of richer countries are, on average, slightly more likely to feel loved than those of poorer countries. But love is still abundant in the poorer countries: People in Rwanda and the Philippines enjoyed the highest love ratios, with more than 9 in 10 people providing positive responses. Armenia, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan, with economic output per person in the middle of the range, all had love ratios of less than 4 in 10.

Still, the truly remarkable stage of the research came when a commenter looked at their effort to plot the love data against GDP per capita to see whether there was a relationship between feeling loved and economic development. The reader pointed out that the data points clustered together to form a heart shape.

OK, so it's a bit of a stretch. But a year later, Wolfers is still marveling at the Valentine's Day miracle:

 

 

Wondering how your country performed? The full results of Gallup's poll are below.

Rank Country Percent Feeling Love
1 Philippines  93%
2 Rwanda  92%
3 Puerto Rico 90%
4 Hungary 89%
5 Cyprus 88%
6 Trinidad and Tobago 88%
7 Paraguay 87%
8 Lebanon 86%
9 Costa Rica 85%
10 Cambodia  85%
11 Nigeria 84%
12 Guyana 83%
13 Spain 83%
14 Mexico 82%
15 Tanzania 82%
16 Ecuador 82%
17 Jamaica 82%
18 Venezuela 82%
19 Cuba 82%
20 Brazil 82%
21 Laos 81%
22 Argentina 81%
23 Belgium 81%
24 Canada 81%
25 Greece 81%
26 United States 81%
27 Denmark 80%
28 Portugal 80%
29 Netherlands 80%
30 Vietnam 79%
31 New Zealand 79%
32 Italy 79%
33 Colombia 79%
34 Madagascar 78%
35 Uruguay 78%
36 Turkey 78%
37 Dominican Republic 78%
38 United Arab Emirates 77%
39 Saudi Arabia 77%
40 Chile 76%
41 Malawi 76%
42 Ghana 76%
43 South Africa 76%
44 Australia 76%
45 Panama 75%
46 Zambia 74%
47 Kenya 74%
48 Namibia 74%
49 Nicaragua 74%
50 Germany 74%
51 Ireland 74%
52 Sweden 74%
53 United Kingdom 74%
54 Switzerland 74%
55 Montenegro 74%
56 Austria 73%
57 France 73%
58 Kuwait 73%
59 Finland 73%
60 El Salvador 73%
61 Pakistan 73%
62 Zimbabwe 72%
63 Honduras 72%
64 Peru 72%
65 Egypt 72%
66 Serbia 72%
67 Bosnia and Herzegovina 72%
68 Sierra Leone 71%
69 India 71%
70 Taiwan 71%
71 Bangladesh 70%
72 Belize 70%
73 Croatia 69%
74 Macedonia 69%
75 Mozambique 69%
76 Bolivia 69%
77 Liberia 68%
78 Iran 68%
79 China 68%
80 Slovenia 68%
81 Haiti 68%
82 Norway 67%
83 Sri Lanka 67%
84 Poland 67%
85 Guatemala 67%
86 Uganda 66%
87 Sudan 66%
88 Israel 66%
89 Kosovo 65%
90 Thailand 65%
91 Jordan 65%
92 Albania 64%
93 Guinea 62%
94 Botswana 62%
95 Angola 62%
96 Burkina Faso 62%
97 Malaysia 61%
98 Mali 61%
99 Niger 61%
100 Palestinian Territories 61%
101 Romania 61%
102 Senegal 61%
103 Indonesia 61%
104 Afghanistan 60%
105 Hong Kong 60%
106 Cameroon 59%
107 Japan 59%
108 Nepal 59%
109 Bulgaria 59%
110 Slovakia 58%
111 Singapore 58%
112 Czech Republic 58%
113 Mauritania 57%
114 Benin 56%
115 South Korea 56%
116 Myanmar 55%
117 Latvia 54%
118 Togo 54%
119 Estonia 53%
120 Lithuania 50%
121 Russia 50%
122 Chad 49%
123 Yemen 48%
124 Ukraine 48%
125 Ethiopia 48%
126 Azerbaijan 47%
127 Tajikistan 47%
128 Moldova 46%
129 Kazakhstan 45%
130 Morocco 43%
131 Belarus 43%
132 Georgia 43%
133 Kyrgyzstan 34%
134 Mongolia 32%
135 Uzbekistan 32%
136 Armenia 29%
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Uri Friedman is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Global Channel. More

Uri Friedman is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Global Channel. He was previously the deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy and a staff writer for The Atlantic Wire.
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