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Friday, March 26, 2010

The Value of Tracking Wellbeing Worldwide

Gallup global wellbeing findings released this week demonstrate the incredible gulf between world nations in terms of how their citizens rate their lives. Worldwide, a median of 21% of citizens are thriving, 64% are struggling, and 10% are suffering. The bulk of those who are thriving are in the Americans. Few are in Africa or Asia.

These findings may or may not surprise you. We are all well aware of the gulf that exists between developed and developing nations. However, these data, and other behavioral economic data Gallup collects worldwide, measure the health of nations not in terms of output or infrastructure, but in terms of the state of mind of their people.

The positive momentum that we are able to measure among those who are thriving is exactly the type of momentum that translates into progress. A nation whose people are not hopeful for the future are no doubt less likely to help advance that society forward. Alternately, those who are hopeful and thriving are more likely to be engaged and invested in their community, spurring growth and innovation.

The results were presented as part of event at Gallup during which former Presidents Vicente Fox of Mexico, Alejandro Toledo of Peru, and Jose MarĂ­a Aznar of Spain discussed how leaders are using these metrics such as these to better measure and promote economic development.

At the event, Fox said such measures reveal "the human side of development." Referring the larger database of behavioral economic measures Gallup tracks, Fox also told Gallup "These new wellbeing metrics and concepts change the whole picture. It's a great tool for government and a great tool for decision makers because now we know the real aspirations of people; what they consider being well. And by knowing that, governments can shape budgets to provide people with what they really need."

To learn more about Gallup's global wellbeing surveys, please contact or call 202.715.3030. To receive Gallup news on global wellbeing, sign up for our wellbeing and world e-mail alerts and RSS feeds.


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