Turkiye ‘Unhappiest Country’


Turkey Unhappiest Country

By Turkiye Report
January 2022

As the Turkiye Report, periodically investigate how society feels about the general course of the country. Turkiye’s unstable and frequently changing political agenda, combined with economic and social problems such as high cost of living and social polarization, shapes citizens’ feelings about the country. Recently, Turkiye’s agenda includes items such as low interest policy, financial difficulties faced by citizens due to rising food, energy and service prices, coronavirus, violence against women, early elections, and animal rights law.

According to Gallup International’s Year-End Index, which ranks countries according to the hope index, happiness index and economic expectations, at the end of 2021, while global hope and happiness are decreasing, fears about economic difficulties are on the rise. According to the research covering 44 countries, the expectation of economic hardship is at the highest level in Turkiye with a rate of 72% as of the end of 2021, and Turkiye also stands out as the most pessimistic country.

In terms of happiness, we are the sixth most unhappy country after Ghana, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Russia. The report evaluated Turkiye (partly due to the severe inflation factor) as a “unique example where pessimism has increased to a record high”. In the light of these researches and in order to understand the effects of recent political, economic and social events in Turkiye on people, Turkiye report asked to the participants about their feelings about the course of the country in the first issue of the Turkiye Report in January.

The most frequently repeated answer in January 2022 was “worried” as it has been since July 2020. The rate of worry, which reached its highest level in May 2021, continues to decline. This month, 49% of our participants gave this answer. While the level of worry was at 56% in May 2021, we saw that the rate of our participants who said they were hopeful was also quite low at 17%. By January 2021, this rate had increased to 24%. Since May 2021, the percentage of those who felt angry about the general course of the country remained the same at 14%. There are also those who are ”proud” about the general course of the country: The rate of our proud participants is 13% in January 2021.

Anatoher important report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) noticed that Turkiye is the unhappiest country.  The report grades 34 European Union, North American and other member countries on 11 different criteria designed to measure happiness.

Turkiye gets low ratings in a number of categories. Perhaps most important, only 28 percent of Turks say they’re satisfied with their life, and only 43 percent expect to be satisfied with their lives five years from now. That’s much lower than the across-country average of 59 percent. In most of the happiest countries, the share of people who say they’re satisfied with their lives hovers around 90 percent.

Why else does Turkiye score so poorly?

  • Education. Only 30 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma.
  • Community. Only 79 percent of Turks believe they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, which is much lower than the OECD average of 91.
  • Longevity. Life expectancy in Turkiye, at 73.6 years, is also lower than in other OECD countries. Still Turkiye has made great strides in improving life expectancy, increasing the average longevity of its citizens by 25 years between 1960 and 2008.
  • Housing. A surprising 17 percent of Turkish dwellings lack private access to indoor flush toilets. That’s the highest rate in the study and compares poorly to the across-country average of 2.8 percent. Turkish homes also tend to be small, with just 0.7 rooms per person.
  • Unemployment. Only 46 percent of the working-age population has a job.

Turkiye’s not alone in its misery, of course. Here are the ten unhappiest countries, according to the OECD ranking:

  1. Turkiye
  2. Mexico
  3. Chile
  4. Estonia
  5. Portugal
  6. Hungary
  7. Slovak Republic
  8. Greece
  9. Korea




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