These Are The World's Most (And Least) Miserable Countries

Venezuela just notched an important milestone in the brief history of the Bloomberg Misery Index: For the fourth year in a row, the Latin American socialist paradise was ranked the world's "most miserable" economy, with a score on the misery index that's more than three times as large as its score from 2017.

But this year, the rest of the countries atop the list of the most miserable will more closely resemble Venezuela as rising prices surpass unemployment as the greatest contributor to global misery, according to Bloomberg.


Shifts in ranking among the most miserable countries are illustrated in the chart below:

Perhaps the most notable move is South Africa. Cape Town, one of the country's largest cities, is facing such a severe water shortage due to a severe drought that the city could essentially run out of water in less than 100 days. Meanwhile, the country's ruling party finally forced out its deeply unpopular leader, former President Jacob Zuma, but disillusionment with the ANC, the country's ruling party since the end of apartheid, continues to simmer.


Meanwhile, Thailand again claimed the "least miserable" spot, though the Thailand's unique way of calculating unemployment (and the fact that the country's fishing industry is facing international pressure over slave-like working conditions) makes No. 2 Singapore worth mentioning as an important also-ran. Mexico is becoming less miserable as an inflationary spiral driven by a weakening currency has largely subsided. Romania, meanwhile, is moving in the wrong direction on the miserable list as its economy struggles with rising inflation.


Overall, economists with the International Monetary Fund expect the global economy to expand by 3.7% year-on-year, while the world in 2018, matching last year’s pace that was the best since 2011.

In Venezuela, hyperinflation has left many economists throwing up their hands at the actual rate of price growth. Black-market currency rates have provided an angle on the numbers, while alternative measures have chased daily cost swings. A recent government slashing of grocery prices gave a brief reprieve to inflation, while the surveyed economists see it rising 1,864 percent this year.

Venezuela and Romania are examples of two countries that are heading in the wrong direction...

Some have not been so fortunate. In Venezuela, hyperinflation has left many economists throwing up their hands at the actual rate of price growth. Black-market currency rates have provided an angle on the numbers, while alternative measures have chased daily cost swings. A recent government slashing of grocery prices gave a brief reprieve to inflation, while the surveyed economists see it rising 1,864 percent this year.

It’s anyone’s guess: The International Monetary Fund’s latest estimate has that figure at 13,000 percent for this year after about 2,400 percent in 2017.

Romania also is heading in the wrong direction. Economists see a 3.3 percent inflation rate for 2018 after much more subdued price growth last year, pushing its misery down 16 notches, to No. 34. The National Bank of Romania is chasing inflation with interest-rate hikes, aiming to stay ahead of any overheating while growth surges on ballooning government spending.

...While Mexico's dramatic improvement is also worth noting.

At the other end of the spectrum, Mexico makes the biggest progress this year, moving 16 notches toward “least miserable” as economists remain optimistic that the central bank will be able to tame last year’s bout of high inflation, bringing it to an average 4.1 percent this year after 6 percent in 2017. Unemployment is set to remain around 3.4 percent.

Two caveats here: Mexico’s jobless figures don’t take into account the 60 percent or so of workers who are in the informal economy. And despite this year’s improvement, consumer confidence remains in a funk and Nafta negotiations might not see a happy ending.

Here are some other notable factoids, courtesy of Bloomberg:

  • Malaysia moves down the misery scale to No. 52 from No. 43 due to moderating inflation. The tepid price growth is allowing Bank Negara Malaysia to be patient with interest-rate hikes, even as they were first in the region this year to tighten this year
  • Argentina, ranked at No. 3, belies a third year of improvement in its overall score, set to be the lowest since at least 2013, the year in which the IMF censured the country for covering up high inflation and when Bloomberg began calculating the data
  • South Korea and Norway, which also happened to perform well in the Bloomberg 2018 Innovation Index at Nos. 1 and 15, broke into the top-10 least miserable
  • Saudi Arabia, projected to make the biggest plunge from 2017 in its misery index number, climbs into the top 10 most-miserable economies
  • The U.S. will see its misery score improve to 6.2 this year from 6.5 in 2017 even as inflation rises following years of persistently low price gains, and as the labor market continues to tighten
  • China, the world’s second-largest economy, saw its misery score rise to 6.3 this year from 5.5 in 2017. Consumer prices are estimated to rise 2.3 percent this year, compared with 1.6 percent in 2017
  • Asian economies are fortunate to escape the top 10 most miserable this year, which are otherwise geographically diverse with Europe, Latin America, and Africa almost equally represented.



ZIRPdiggler willspeaks Tue, 02/20/2018 - 06:17 Permalink

Although I am not anti-Semitic, I do believe the Israel lobby has had a dark hand in most of the mayhem that has been witnessed; both in the USSA and on the world scene.  Most of the history lessons we mindlessly consumed in school as children, regarding USSA foreign policy and Jewish persecution is pure bullshit.   

In reply to by willspeaks

Polynik3s PrivetHedge Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:38 Permalink

Exactly. Most Jews are from the steppes of Southern Russia. They are not Hebrew. They have assumed the cloak of God's Chosen to dupe the rest of the world. Feel free to call the Jews a parasite, it is in no way anti-semitic. Identifying and having an open dialogue about the parasites are the first required steps to a human freedom.

In reply to by PrivetHedge

just the tip helloimjohnnycat Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:14 Permalink…

as you claim to be in / from texas, maybe you can answer some questions for me.

the photo above is from laredo.

why do texans only use half the road?

which direction is north in the photo?

myself am just north of the red, and i am trying to find out more about our "cousins" south of the red.  so when you leave, to please remember to take us with you.

In reply to by helloimjohnnycat

hardmedicine just the tip Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:41 Permalink

NORTH is where all the people from Mexico are going..... IOW.... to the behind the picture view. 

Texans use half the road because the other half is taken up by mexicans trying to get out of the hell hole Mexico

if you are north of the red (river) then you are probably an ok dude (or dudette) unless you are a liberal then I wish you would roll over and die. 

In reply to by just the tip

silverer willspeaks Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:53 Permalink

Hey willspeaks. I guess you missed the story about how the US sanctions on Venezuela prevented them from selling bonds in the international market, when they needed money and relief so badly. Oh, but guess who was exempt from those sanctions? GOLDMAN SACHS. Nothing like buying up a country for pennies on the dollar, eh? I wouldn't call that a mitzvah, would you?

In reply to by willspeaks

Killdo Hobbleknee Tue, 02/20/2018 - 07:30 Permalink

I agree  - I remember when I lived in Vancouver - that year it was voted the best place to live in the world. 

and it was a shithole - every time I met foreigners - the first thing we would ask each other was  - why was it voted the best place???

It was polluted over-built by boring cheap-looking apartments. and I read it "Business in Vancouver' (the main business newspaper there) that the average resident of Vancouver was a foreign born, unemployed, visible minority, single renter...Weather was shit too - I remember it started raining in early September and it did not stop for a month. People are also small - town, jealous, boring simpletons (often drug addicts  - because it's so boring to actually live there). 

thinking back - Canadian gvt probably bribed the UN to write that report

In reply to by Hobbleknee

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Killdo Tue, 02/20/2018 - 11:03 Permalink

Vancouver used to be a great place to hang out. I loved going there for three nights to eat, drink, party, stay at a swanky hotel downtown and smoke a little herb, too. Been visiting from a young age, so going on 45 years. My last trip was to see George Noori speak at the Hard Rock auditorium. Good crowd. I stayed downtown and the only whites I saw working were the front desk staff, the bar keeps, and the waiters. Everyone else was colored. The taxi driver, the cleaning staff, the bell hops. Jeez even at Tim Horton's there were no whites making coffee! I did see other white tourists and lots of Chinese tourists at the waterfront market.

It starts raining in Septemeber and you pray it stops raining by June.

In reply to by Killdo

bloofer Kidbuck Tue, 02/20/2018 - 10:55 Permalink

Jews tend to become highly educated in the assortment of fields that are essentially "rackets": Law, medicine, finance, education, government, media, etc., and will rarely be found in actual productive occupations like agriculture or construction, or, these days, even in small business or engineering. They don't do "productive." They just do rackets.

In reply to by Kidbuck

MK ULTRA Alpha Tue, 02/20/2018 - 04:23 Permalink

Did any of you anti-American foreigners see your country on the list of shit holes? Then tell us which country you're posting from.

I saw the names of shit hole countries some of you have admitted to posting from. Yeah, your country is so bad off, all you can do is come here and blame the Americans.

The operative word is pathetic.

CuttingEdge Zero Point Tue, 02/20/2018 - 05:21 Permalink

Posting from Andalucia.

Moved from a fast deteriorating UK seven years ago and zero regrets.

Crime? Zero in my locale since moving here.

Inflation? A palatable bottle of Rioja costs €2.00 - up 40c in 7 years. Likewise most basics.

Illegal migrants? Not tolerated since El Cid.

Weather? 300 days of sun?

Local property tax? €300 per annum.


What is not to like?


Funny thing.

13 years ago (before Obama seriously fucked the country up) we looked at moving to Naples Fla. Love the place, and found US people at a basic social level the friendliest around (and I've been around). OK we never did any shitholes like Northeast Baltimore, (aside from a dodgy hotel in Tampa one night - Busch Gardens was worth any inconvenience). Probably why it makes me so fucking angry at how the country has deteriorated in the intervening period - all those good decent people we interacted with having to put up with the shite created by the aforementioned cunt and his cabal of shysters.


So glad we ended up were we did.

In reply to by Zero Point

hardmedicine CuttingEdge Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:45 Permalink

right now we are researching property outside the USA......... not going to take it here much longer than absolutely necessary.  property tax, constant warmongering, regulations out the wazoo and liberals run fucking AMOK!!@!!!. this is why i read zerohedge to find out the skinny on where things can just be real again. 

right now looking into some serious Irish countryside cottages.  At least starting to look.  they speak English.  ANYONE//??  anyone got any insider info on rural IReland? 

would love to swap stories with you. 

In reply to by CuttingEdge

Jo A-S stacking12321 Tue, 02/20/2018 - 04:43 Permalink

Likewise the UK.  You can make money there but it is going downhill fast.  Hence, my wife and I are now expats in Greece.  You can live, comfortably on €1,200/mth.  Not lavishly, but comfortably.  And the weather's better.

In reply to by stacking12321