Americans are among the most stressed people in the world, poll finds

click to enlarge An upside-down American flag in front of the White House in Washington, Feb. 18, 2019. Last year, Americans reported feeling stress, anger and worry at the highest levels in a decade, according to a new Gallup poll of more than 150,000 people around the world. - SARAH SILBIGER/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times
An upside-down American flag in front of the White House in Washington, Feb. 18, 2019. Last year, Americans reported feeling stress, anger and worry at the highest levels in a decade, according to a new Gallup poll of more than 150,000 people around the world.

By Niraj Chokshi
New York Times News Service

Americans are among the most stressed people in the world, according to a new survey. And that is just the start of it.

Last year, Americans reported feeling stress, anger and worry at the highest levels in a decade, according to the survey, part of an annual Gallup poll of more than 150,000 people around the world, released Thursday.

“What really stood out for the U.S. is the increase in the negative experiences,” said Julie Ray, Gallup’s managing editor for world news. “This was kind of a surprise to us when we saw the numbers head in this direction.”


In the United States, about 55% of adults said they had experienced stress during “a lot of the day” prior, compared with just 35% globally. Statistically, that put the country on par with Greece, which had led the rankings on stress since 2012.

About 45% of the Americans surveyed said they had felt “a lot” of worry the day before, compared with a global average of 39%. Meanwhile, the share of Americans who reported feeling “a lot” of anger the day before being interviewed was the same as the global average: 22%.

When Gallup investigated the responses more closely, it found that being under 50, earning a low income and having a dim view of President Donald Trump’s job performance were correlated with negative experiences among adults in the United States. But there still is not enough data to say for sure whether any of those factors were behind the feelings of stress, worry and anger.

Americans also generally reported more positive experiences, on average, than the rest of the world did. Globally, just 49% of those interviewed said they had learned or had done something interesting the day before. In the United States, however, 64% of adults said the same.


Worldwide, while stress declined, anger increased. Worry and sadness reached new heights, and feelings of physical pain were unchanged.

For the first time, Chad topped the list as the country with the highest response of negative experiences in the world.

Nations in Latin America once again led the list of countries where positive experiences were highest, despite the fact that some of the countries that topped the list, like El Salvador and Honduras, are home to some of the world’s highest murder rates.

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