A recent Gallup Poll has revealed which nations around the world are feeling most pessimistic about the future – and results show that unsurprisingly, austerity-hit Greeks feel the worst when thinking about their lives five years from now.
The poll reflects data gathered in 2011 that examines the attitudes of close to 150 nations around the world, and asks respondents how they feel about their country's future five years down the line – whether their lives will be better off or worse.
Among the top five most pessimistic countries were Greece, Syria, Czech Republic, Portugal and Japan. Greece and Portugal are suffering through deep economic troubles and citizens fear austerity measures may only compound their current troubles – 42 percent of Greek respondents shared a pessimistic outlook, compared with 32 percent of Portuguese.
Syria is currently on the brink of civil war with government troops battling rebels intent on bringing down the current regime. Although not much is known about what kind of government or rule a potentially successful rebellion would yield.
The Czech Republic and Japan, on the other hand, are commonly known as two of the most atheistic societies in the world – Japan also has one of the highest suicide rates among nations – although the poll questions failed to determine whether that had anything directly to do with the comparatively pessimistic outlook of their citizens.
"Greeks' hope for the future reached a low point in 2011," Gallup commented on the European country's numbers. "This lack of optimism is potentially an even more serious concern than current low life evaluations, as pessimism and hopelessness can have serious implications for social stability."
"In European countries that have reported relatively high life satisfaction but are undergoing serious socioeconomic crises, hope for the future has diminished. Greece's newly elected government will face the difficult task of giving Greeks much more to be hopeful about."
Still, there was also room for a lot of optimism among countries – in fact, the survey indicates that even among less developed nations, the majority still feel hopeful that their lives will change for the better five years from now.
Although global statistics on the most overall optimistic countries were not available, data revealed that in Europe, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, United Kingdom and Ireland were among the top countries where respondents thought their lives will be better off five years from now.
Countries where people described their living conditions as "poor" were also highly hopeful about the future – Togo, Comoros and Central African Republican all had over 90 percent optimism rates.
"Worldwide, there is generally a lot of optimism, even in countries where majorities currently rate their lives negatively. This suggests that despite their current situations, there is still an abundance of hope – which leaders would be wise to tap into as they seek to move their countries forward," Gallup concluded.
Respondents in the U.S. also remained largely positive about the future, with only 15 percent sharing fears that their lives five years from now will be worse than they are now.
The poll surveyed roughly 1,000 adults in each of the 148 countries it took samples from.