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Togo Declared The Unhappiest Country on Planet, Martin Wants to Know My Opinion?


Bob the Squid

To clarify, the World Happiness Report is based on a single question administered in a fairly rigorous way as part of the larger Gallup World Poll. The question boils down to: how do you rate your life on a scale of 0 to 10. That's it. (That question is called the Cantril Ladder after the researcher who came up with the idea of analogizing the 0 to 10 scale in a way that uneducated people across the world could understand - everyone has ladders.)

The business about "social support", generosity, etc., is the report authors' attempt to use other data to explain why the polled individuals from a country answered the way they did. In other words, the Swiss are super happy (meaning they rate their lives highly on the 0 to 10 scale compared to other countries), and the fact that they are relatively rich may help explain that. On the other hand, people in Burundi are not very happy and the fact that they are impoverished may help explain that.

An important thing to keep in mind when interpreting this report is that "rate your life" always includes an implicit "against your expectations" in it, which helps explain some of the oddities. How could people in Togo, a relatively stable country, be less happy than people in Syria, which has an intense civil war and humanitarian crisis? Well, it's all relative. Maybe a guy in Togo is bummed because he expects to send his kids to college but can't, while a guy in Syria is elated because he expected to be dead 6 months ago. In other words, if you changed the question to "how does your life rate against the life of the guy living open sewer tent colony in a war zone", you'd get a very different set of results.

It's also important to realize that the results don't mean anything about people's day to day experience or "happiness" in the sense of their interactions with others. Being unhappy with how your life is relative to your expectations doesn't mean that you're miserable or that you don't smile or that you don't enjoy your life.


Thanks Bob, I download the PDF, but T.M.I. Too Much Information, and I know the report is not really about happiness.

But-- Hmm, I think maybe the Togolese people are smarter.. LOL They know how to work the Western nations.

If we was able to ask this question to an Togolese in a language they could understand, Eve, Fan, Kabrye, etc.?
"how do you rate your life on a scale of 0 to 10?"

Then the only intelligent answer from a Togo point of view is 0. or NEGATIVE.

Why? This is the same as asking, do you want money in Africa, they have learned that Western cultures are sapps, and give money when they are poor, it is the race to the bottom.

If they answered GREAT, nobody would give them a cadeau, l'argent, money!

Nonetheless, thanks Bob for clarification, and in my opinion, this report is not even close to accurate. But, as a benefit for me, this means that no tourism for Togo, which is good, that last thing we need is more sapps.

Togo people are some of the most content, happy, quick to smile, quick to say hello people on the planet.

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