Comfortably numb: Survey reveals ‘least emotional’ countries

Singapore (AFP Photo / Roslan Rahman)
If you’re suffering from too much depression or euphoria, you might want to head to Singapore: It’s been named the least emotional country in the world. If you’re seeking an injection of emotion, look no further than the most-emotional Philippines.

While many will likely find the depictions of these various countries somewhat inaccurate, they are part a project by US pollster Gallup, which conducted surveys in more than 140 countries to compare how people feel about their lives.

The most emotionless country in the world, Singapore, was followed by Georgia, Lithuania and Russia. Singapore may enjoy strength in sectors like finance and electronics, but only 36 percent of the country’s 5.3 million inhabitants were estimated to admit to feelings of anger, physical pain, or other negative emotions. They were equally neutral towards positive and happy feelings.

(graphic from www.gallup.com)
(graphic from www.gallup.com)

Money can’t buy happiness, or emotions

Singapore is blasé despite having almost doubled the size of its economy in the last ten years, making it one of the world’s wealthiest with a per capita GDP of $33,530.

Close in second were Georgia and Lithuania, followed by Russia. Residents of all three countries have gone through much turmoil, both emotional and financial, when the Soviet Union broke up.

Some Russians and Georgians may dispute this statistic, as both Russians and Georgians have been known to be very outwardly emotional. Looking at the following statistics, one can see that emotional apathy (or passion) is directly linked to the each country’s per capita GDP – except, of course, in Singapore.

(cograpdate from gallup.com)
(cograpdate from gallup.com)
(graphic from wikipedia.org)
(graphic from wikipedia.org)

On the other end of the scale, the Philippines made the top spot as the world’s most emotive nation, with 60 percent regularly feeling emotional.

El Salvador took second place, followed by Bahrain, Oman and Colombia.

(graphic from www.gallup.com)
(graphic from www.gallup.com)

It’s likely no coincidence that 12 of the top 15 most emotional countries are located in either South or North America.

The 10 least emotional nations, on the other hand, are mostly found in the former Soviet Union bloc, and among present-day CIS countries. Lengthy periods of repression may have contributed heavily to the apparent lack of emotion.

Gallup’s questions were straightforward. For instance: “Evaluate your life on a scale of zero to 10.” Here, the Danish were the most happy, and residents of Togo were the least. When the poll asked whether “life would be better or worse five years from now,” Greece was most pessimistic. Iraqis were most likely to report feeling stress, anger, sadness, worry, or pain.

Singapore’s reign as the world’s least emotional nation is that much starker compared to its nearest competitors in the ranking. According to Bloomberg’s chief Singapore editor, ‘What you want?’ is the second-most-common refrain heard in Singapore – a question that would definitely feel more at home in Russia.

And the most common phrase? ‘How much you pay, huh?’