WINGIA Releases End of Year 2016 Survey Results

Global WIN/Gallup International and BALTMI End of Year study: happiness improves despite economic confidence falling

WIN/Gallup International association, whose representative for Lithuania and Estonia is market research agency BALTMI operating in the Baltic States,  has conducted traditional End of Year Survey exploring the outlook, expectations and beliefs of various people across the globe. Global Barometer study that has been conducted since 1977 provides annual Happiness, Hope, and Economic expectation indexes.

End of Year 2016 survey results revealed the opinions of almost 66 600 people in 66 countries. BALTMI conducted research in Lithuania and Estonia. 500 citizens were surveyed in each country.

Headlines:

  • 68% of the world said that they feel happy about their lives, an increase from 66% last year; 22% are neither happy nor unhappy, and 9% feel unhappy about their lives.
  • Happiness index globally is +59%. The index is calculated by deducting percentage of unhappy respondents from percentage of happy respondents. Compared to 2015 a 3% index increase is observed (from +56%).
  • Fiji and China are the happiest countries of the world (Happiness index of +89% and +80% respectively), followed by Philippines, Vietnam, Panama, Indonesia and Paraguay. Iraq is the least happy country for the third year in a row (less than +1% Happiness index).
  • More than half of Lithuanians (54%) claim to be happy. Similar number of Estonians (53%) are happy. In Latvia slightly less than half (49%) claim to be happy. Compared to global Happiness index (+59%), citizens in the Baltics are less happy. Happiness index in Lithuania is +46%, in Estonia – +48%, in Latvia – +40%.
  • 42% of the world is optimistic about the economic outlook for 2017; 22% are pessimistic and 31% believe the economy will remain the same. Global Economic expectations index is at +20%.
  • The most optimistic countries about economic prosperity in 2017 are Ghana (+68%) and Bangladesh (+67%). In contrast, South Korea (-62%), Hong Kong (-56%) and Greece (-53%) are the most pessimistic.
  • Compared to global Economic expectations index (+20%), expectations for economic prospects in 2017 are significantly more pessimistic. Economic expectations index in Latvia stands at -34%, in Lithuania at -16%, in Estonia at -15%.
  • Global Hope index is +37%. More than half (52%) of the World believes that 2017 will be better than 2016. When comparing the Baltic States it is evident that Estonians are most hopeful about the next year, and Latvians are the least hopeful.

Happiness index: a happier world albeit with some stark regional differences

Research data shows that 68% of the world citizens report being happy. Compared to last year, the figure has risen by 2% despite considerable changes and terrorist attacks observed in 2016. 9% of surveyed respondents said that they were unhappy (1% less than at the end of 2015). Overall this means that global Happiness index is +59%.

Data comparison reveals contrasting opinions between regions. Respondents from East Asia and Oceania are significantly happier than those in the Middle East. For example, the Happiness index of the world’s happiest countries – Fiji (+89%) and China (+80%) – is in stark contrast to happiness in Iraq, which rates as the unhappiest of all 66 countries surveyed (less than +1%) for the third year in a row. From the Baltic States, Estonia (+48%) takes the lead for happiness. Happiness index in Lithuania stands at +46%, in Latvia – at 40%.

Data findings also suggest that income strongly correlates with happiness. Respondents belonging to bottom quintile of income (Q1) record Happiness index of +33% (quintiles separate the population income into five equal portions arranged in ascending order, first quintile (Q1) shows the average income of 20% lowest income receiving population, whereas Q5 shows the average income of 20% richest population). In comparison, those in top quintile of income (Q5) record a Happiness index of +75%.

Economic expectations: globally high but lower than last year

When it comes to economic expectations, economic optimism has declined from twelve months ago. Study shows that 42% of the world is optimistic for the economic outlook in 2017, while 22% are pessimistic. Global Economic expectations index stands at 20%, and has fallen by 3% (from +23%) in 2015.

While globally just over two in five (42%) say next year will be one of economic prosperity, significant differences are observed across the globe. European citizens are significantly less optimistic than anywhere else in the world: Economic Expectations index for EU countries stands at -26%, for non-EUR countries -20%. The challenges posed to the very future of the EU project in 2016 may well have created economic doubt within the world’s largest economic bloc. Within Europe, economic pessimism is most acutely felt in Italy (-48%), the UK (-38%) and France (-35%). On a global scale only Korea (-62%) and Hong Kong (-56%), who have witnessed a year of political and economic turmoil, are more pessimistic. Comparing the results for Baltic States, Latvian respondents (-34%) are most pessimistic, while respondents in Lithuania (-16%) and Estonia (-15%) are less pessimistic.

The most optimistic nations with regards to economic outlook are Ghana (+68%) and Bangladesh (+67%). When it comes to a demographic breakdown, young people below 34 years old (+34%) prove to be considerably more optimistic than older generations over the age of 55 (-7%).

Hope: High amongst Middle and Low Income Nations

Research data shows that majority of respondents (52%) across the world believe that overall 2017 will be better than 2016, while 15% are pessimistic. Global Hope index, standing at +37%, fell by 2% (from +39%) compared to 2015. Most hopeful for the year ahead are those respondents living in some of the fastest growing countries in the world: Bangladesh (+77%), Ghana (+76%), Ivory Cost (+72%), Fiji (+62%), China (+56%), India (+55%), and Brazil (+51%). Unfortunately, the economic blocks of the EU (+1%) and North America (+11%) show the least optimism for improvement. With Prime Minister Renzi losing a referendum in December, 2016, and with an economic recovery that does not take off, it is the Italians (-42%) who are most concerned about the 2017. Across the Baltic States, Estonian population is the most hopeful. Estonian Hope index (+47%) exceeds the Global (+37%) one. Hope index in Lithuania (+20%) is lower by more than half compared to Estonia, and the most pessimistic from the neighbouring countries is Latvia with Hope index of +10%.

Analysis: Global Income Redistribution drives national outlooks on Economic Optimism and Pessimism

Data collected during the Global Barometer study has been compared with the Big Data World Bank has been collecting about Gross National Income (GNI) for the past decate (2005-2015). Analysis reveals a clear link between economic outlook for the year 2017 and global redistribution of Income (GNI).

Since 20015, the Tier One Rich Countries (30 nations with average annual income of 45,000 US dollars per capita) lost 10% in their share in global economy. This group in the opinion poll is at present the most pessimistic in their economic outlook for 2017 (-17%). The Tier Two Middle Income Countries (12 nations with average annual income of 13,000 US dollars per capita) gained 10% in their share in global economy, and as a group reveals the most optimistic in economic outlook for 2017 (+29%). The Tier Three Low Income countries (175 nations with average annual income of 7,000 US dollars per capita) retained its share in global economy during the last decade. The Economic Expectations index for this group stands at +26%.

Vilma Scarpino, President of WIN/Gallup International Association, commented: “The world is witnessing changing income distribution across nations. The old rich are losing while the new rich are gaining ground. This transition is reflected in their outlooks on hope about 2017. Fortunately, happiness is becoming unrelated to views on economic outlook. The rich nations of the Western World are happy despite their gloomy outlook on economic prospects. As a result, the global community as a whole reveals a happy majority, in fact slightly happier than a year ago.”

Inga Blažienė, BALTMI General Manager, commented: “While compared to global indexes for Economic Expectations and Hope we are pessimistic, and do not reach the level of global Happiness index, expectations of Lithuanian population has vastly improved since 2012. Such comparatively optimistic results of 2016 could be associated with Parliamentary elections from a few months ago. This would imply that the large confidence credit to Lithuanian Government is stimulated by rising expectations of the Lithuanian citizens. At the same time, it also implies a heavy responsibility and burden to the New Government: whether these expectations are met, or, especially, unsatisfied, it would be observed in population behaviour that BALTMI constantly tracks.”

Table 1: Do you think that 2017 will be better, worse or the same as 2016?

Table1

Table 2: Do you personally feel very happy, happy, neither happy nor unhappy, unhappy or very unhappy about your life?

Table2

Table 3: Compared to this year, in your opinion, will next year be a year of economic prosperity, economic difficulty or remain the same for your country?

Table3

Methodology:

66 countries participated in the representative survey. A total of 66541 people were surveyed globally. Margin of error for national samples is +/- 3-5% with 95% confidence. The surveys were conducted face to face (25 countries; n=29211 respondents), via telephone (13 countries; n=10754), online (25 countries; n=23947) or through mixed methods (3 countries; n=2629). The fieldwork was conducted during October-December, 2016. 500 Lithuanian and 500 Estonian citizens aged from 15 to 74 were surveyed in November-December, 2016.

Data collected during Global Barometer study may be found via the following address: http://www.wingia.com/en/services/end_of_year_survey_2016/10/.