WASHINGTON – The citizens of economically emerging Latin American countries show one of the highest levels of life satisfaction in the world, and specifically Argentina and Mexico have registered one of the biggest increases in happiness in recent years.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center published Thursday, roughly “two-thirds or more in Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina saying they are doing well,” giving economically emerging nations a similar level of satisfaction to those in advanced economies.
Latin Americans also differ in their concerns and in the things that make them happy compared to other regions such as Asia and Africa, which find in religion their greatest satisfaction and in work and their standard of living their worst disappointments.
In five of the nine Latin American countries studied, what gives people the least satisfaction is safety in their neighborhoods, with only 49 percent in Argentina, 47 percent in Venezuela and 45 percent in Brazil saying they are content with public safety.
Chileans with 49 percent and Peruvians with 46 percent also showed little satisfaction with public safety in their neighborhoods, but they are even less satisfied with the quality of education: 39 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
More in line with the overall tendency, 60 percent of Nicaraguans and 54 percent of Salvadorans say they are less satisfied with their standard of living.
However, if Latin Americans have one thing in common it is that what gives them the most happiness is the family, according to 83 percent of those surveyed throughout the region.
“Latin Americans are also generally positive about the future, especially Brazilians, Colombians, Peruvians and Nicaraguans. Salvadorans, Venezuelans and Mexicans are somewhat more pessimistic, with roughly two-in-ten saying life will get worse for them personally,” the story said.
The citizens of nations that have stood out economically in recent years are considerably more satisfied with their lives than they were in 2007 and rival the more advanced nations – which have declined somewhat in happiness over the past seven years – in terms of happiness in that area.
Countries like the United States, United Kingdom, France and in particular Spain have registered a reduction in life satisfaction among their citizens in recent years, something that has impacted the developed countries, on average, a good bit although some people, such as those in Germany, have registered significantly higher satisfaction.
The study, which analyzes the life satisfaction level of citizens in developing, emerging and advanced nations, is based on interviews with 47,643 adults in 43 countries and was conducted between March 17 and June 5, 2014.
The error margin varies among the different countries depending on sample size, but the average is plus or minus 4 percentage points.