It’s no surprise that the Greeks are highly doubtful about their future, with a recent Gallup poll showing that the citizens of Greece are the most pessimistic in the world about where their lives are headed. Only 25% of Greeks polled felt optimistic, compared with a median of 36% in Europe and 66% worldwide.
According to the Gallup World poll released July 25, 42% of Greeks expect their lives in five years to be worse than they are now. Wait a minute. Only four in 10? That means most Greeks still viewed their glass of retsina as half full. Then again, the survey of 1,000 people in face-to-face interviews was performed from April 14 to May 3, 2011, before the worst of the eurozone crisis hit.
Syria, the Czech Republic and Portugal were the only countries aside from Greece where at least one in three people rated their future lives worse than their current lives.
So who’s feeling optimistic in Europe?
Somewhat counterintuitively, optimism “is often found among those with low current life ratings, as is the case in less developed nations,” according to Gallup. “In countries where residents generally rate their lives poorly, people tend to expect their lives to improve, likely because they cannot fathom their lives getting worse.”
That said, here are the rankings of the 16 most optimistic countries in Europe, in reverse order. The results are based on Gallup surveys of 1,000 people in each of 148 countries worldwide over the course of 2011.
In 2011, 36% of the citizens in these three European countries felt optimistic about their future:
13) Denmark. (Versus 37% in 2008.)
12) Bulgaria. (2008 rating unavailable.)
11) Poland. (Versus 45% in 2008.)
In these three countries, 37% of the citizens polled by Gallup felt optimistic about their future:
10) Spain. (Versus 44% in 2008.)
9) Italy. (Identical to the 37% reported in 2008.)
8) Slovakia. (2008 rating unavailable.)
6) Sweden. In 2011, 41% of Swedes polled said they felt optimistic versus 43% in 2008.
4) United Kingdom. Things in the UK looked better to 45% of those polled in 2011 versus 51% in 2008.
2) Latvia. The majority of Latvians polled, 53%, felt optimistic in 2011, down slightly from 55% in 2008.
Then again, the news out of Europe doesn’t excite much interest here in the States. According to a May 31 Gallup poll, less than half of Americans surveyed said they were following the news about the eurozone financial crisis. Only 16% of Americans claimed to be paying attention “very closely” to what was going on in Europe, while 29% pegged themselves as following euro news “not at all.”
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