Despite constantly whinging about the weather, road congestion, software pricing and government incompetence, Australians are apparently one of the most optimistic nations on Earth. If the latest sociological findings are to be believed, denizens from down under have a much cheerier outlook about the future than most other countries — although not as much as Kiwis, who somehow managed to break into the top five.
Happy Australian picture from Shutterstock
Researchers from Boston University, et al, analysed over 150,000 individuals from 142 countries representing 95 per cent of the world’s population in a bid to examine the relationships between optimism and nationality. Each country was ranked in a scale of optimism based on subjective well-being, perceived health and hopes for the future.
The resulting report found that Australians are among the most optimistic in the world, featuring in the top twenty per cent of all the countries studied. The top five, meanwhile, were Ireland, Brazil, Denmark, New Zealand and the United States. The countries with the five lowest mean expectations for the future were Zimbabwe, Egypt, Haiti, Bulgaria and Lebanon.
Overall, the report found that young, female, highly educated, and affluent individuals are on average the most optimistic worldwide:
Taken together, our results suggest that the most optimistic people in the world may be young, economically secure, educated women in Ireland, Brazil, Denmark, New Zealand, and the United States. Conversely, the most pessimistic people in the world may be old, poor, uneducated men in Zimbabwe.
The report concludes that optimism is primarily a subjective phenomena linked to an individual's perception of well-being and health. Interestingly, the study did not find any evidence that GDP or life expectancy were significant moderators.
“Our results suggest that optimism is not merely a benefit of living in industrialised nations, but reflects a universal characteristic that is associated with and potentially may serve to promote improved psychological functioning worldwide,” the authors note.
Do you perceive the glass to be half-full, half-empty or not containing sufficient alcohol? Expound upon your future outlook in the comments section below.