World Facts

The Saddest Countries In The World In 2016

The World Happiness Report of 2016 recognized Burundi, Syria, and Togo as the least happy countries in the world.

Every year, a World Happiness Report is released to compare different countries around the world, and it indicates which countries have the happiest, and the saddest, populations. The process involves asking the respondents to rank their happiness based on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 represents the worst possible life. The answers are weighted against six parameters, which include levels of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), life expectancy, generosity, freedom, social support, and corruption. The results are compared to a "dystopia", which is an imaginary state representing the worst misery. Dystopia is a fictional state where everyone is miserable. The first world happiness report was released in 2012 and every year world happiness score index is released.


Burundi is an East African country that achieved a happiness score of 2.905 in 2016, which was the same score it had in 2015. Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world with a population of 9 million and has been ranked as the saddest country in the world since 2015. 70% of the population firmly believe there is a wide spread corruption in the country and the economy is in shambles following the civil war, genocide, and attempted coup. There are no reconstruction efforts. The country has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of $8.4 billion, and a per capita GDP of $911 while unemployment rate stands at 6.9%. Burundi has serious structural problems which include inefficient management of public finance and poor legal framework which undermine regulatory efficiency. The government has been interfering with the economy and has failed to sustain an open investment market which has adversely affected investment activity. All these factors have contributed to driving most enterprises and people into the informal sector.


Syria is a country in the Middle East which was given a happiness score of 3.069 in 2016, similar to the score it had in 2015, therefore ranking it as the second country in the world among those with the saddest populations. The country has a population of 18.1 million and GDP (PPP) of $73.0 million and GDP per capita of $4,020. The inflation in the country is 29.2%. Syria has been raved with war which triggered severe economic recession followed by the collapse in the oil and tax revenue. A bout 4 million Syrians have left the country because of the conflict and the country’s economy have been stifled by government bureaucracy, rising budget deficits, falling oil production, and high inflation, all of which have placed the Syrian population among the saddest people in the world.


Togo is a country in West Africa bordering Benin, Burkina Faso, and Ghana. It received a happiness score of 3.33 in 2016, indicating a change over the previous year of 0.100, placing it among the saddest countries in the world as well. Poverty in the country is widespread standing at 55% in 2015 compared to 2011 when it was 59%. Poverty in the rural areas is higher with 69% of rural population living below the poverty line. Togo’s population stands at 7.0 million with GDP of $10.1 billion and GDP per capita of $1,450. The unemployment rate was 6.9%. In 2014 the country introduced new anti corruption laws, but corruption and graft is still a big problem in the country. The Judicial system lack resources and frequently influenced, contracts are difficult to enforce. All these factors make the Togolese citizens among the saddest people in the world.


Afghanistan is a country in South Asia which received a happiness score of 3.360 in 2016, indicating no change from the previous year’s score. The Afghan population is 31.1 million people, and the country has a GDP of $60.6 billion and GDP per capita of $1,937. Unemployment rates are 9.1% and inflation is 4.6%. The overall economy of Afghanistan is undermined by political and security challenges and the government is unable to deliver basic needs reliably leading to eroded confidence on government. The Afghanistan’s economy is hampered by widespread corruption and insurgency, while the agricultural sector relies heavily on opium poppies for cultivation

Relevance and Significance of Happiness Indices

The World Happiness Report ranks countries according to their respective levels of happiness, and there has been a growing interest in using the report and its data as an indicator of the quality of human development around the world. Now different governments and organizations are using the happiness data to formulate policies that support better lives. According to the researchers happiness provide a better indicator of human welfare compared to education, income, poverty, good government, and education when they are measured separately.

The Saddest Countries In The World In 2016

RankCountryScoreChange Over Prior Year
1 Burundi2.9050.000
2 Syria3.0690.000
3 Togo3.3030.100
4 Afghanistan3.3600.000
5 Benin3.4840.154
6 Rwanda3.515-0.700
7 Guinea3.6070.000
8 Liberia3.622-0.080
9 Tanzania3.666-0.460
10 Madagascar3.695-0.285
11 Yemen3.724-0.754
12 Burkina Faso3.739-0.170
13 Uganda3.739-0.356
14 Chad3.763-0.025
15 South Sudan3.8320.000
16 Niger3.856-0.144
17 Angola3.8660.000
18 Cambodia3.9070.045
19 Ivory Coast3.9160.000
20 Comoros3.9560.000

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