Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Panama Leads the World in Well-Being Survey...Again!

Country rankings from the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index show that, for the second time since last year’s inaugural report, Panama has the highest overall well-being in the world. The new report* ranks 145 countries and areas based on the percentages of their residents that are thriving in three or more well-being elements.

In the study, people from all over the world were asked questions about five aspects of their well-being: their sense of purpose, social relationships, financial situations, community involvement and physical health. Based on their responses, participants were considered "thriving," "struggling" or "suffering" in each of those five aspects.

Panama, the home of the man-made canal, bustling Panama City and lush farmland, leads the world in well-being, with 53% of residents considered thriving in three or more of those elements. Costa Rica and Puerto Rico round out the top three as the only other countries or areas with at least 45% or more of their populations thriving. This is compared to a score of 30% in the United States and a world-wide average of 17% of people considered thriving in at least three of the five elements. 

Panama happiness chart

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Part of the reason for Panama's high ranking may be that people there, and in Latin America in general, tend to report experiencing positive emotions more often and negative emotions less, compared with people in other parts of the world, said Dan Witters, research director at Gallup-Healthways. 
Panama also had a growing economy in 2015, is relatively politically stable; additionally, city dwellers and tourists alike escape to the cool, refreshing mountains in the heart of Chiriqui Province, Panama's “breadbasket” where most of the country's food is grown as well as coffee and plantains—a national staple food. 

Best country to live in Panama
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For cultural reasons, there may be some differences among countries in how people interpret the questions asked in the Gallup survey, the researchers noted. However, Gallup takes a number of steps to reduce the effects of misinterpretation, including translating questions so that they are as close to the original meaning as possible, and conducting interviews face-to-face or over the phone, rather than using a paper survey, Witters said.

Well-being is an important measure to consider, because studies show that people with higher well-being are healthier, more productive and more resilient in the face of challenges, Gallup says. 
And, despite their recent bad press claiming that some people looking to reduce their taxes may have had hidden accounts there, the overwhelming consensus is that Panama has a very optimistic future ahead of her.


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