A global poll has rated Colombia as the most hopeful country in Latin America, and seventh in the world.
Colombians are a people defined by their ability to hope for more, despite suffering from an array of socioeconomic problems, according to the 2012 Global Barometer of Hope and Despair, a global study of countrywide levels of happiness and hope.
Most hopeful countries in the world
In a country mired by high levels of violence, unemployment and social inequality, where 4 out of ten people are living in poverty and 15%, or 6 million people, suffer from hunger, Colombians hope for a better future is among the brightest in the world.
The study, conducted annually by worldwide market research firm WIN-Gallup in conjunction with the World Bank, questioned a cross-section of more than 45,000 people across 50 countries about their level of contentness and their hope for the future.
Results from the study place Colombia as the most hopeful country in Latin America, and seventh in the world. This mirrors similar results ranking Colombia in the top ten in studies over the past ten years, with Colombia being ranked fifth in the same study in 2011.
According to the study, the French suffer most from despair, followed by the Irish and Belgians.
Carlos Lemoine, director of Colombia’s National Consulting Center, who were commissioned to complete the Colombian branch of the study, spoke to newspaper El Tiempo about the results.
“Being happy and cheerful is in the Colombian culture, in the genes. Happiness is a wisdom of the Colombian people. […] Colombians have a natural wisdom that allows them to be optimistic and want better. They adapt to what they have, but always search for more.”
According to Lemoine; “One lives in a world shaped by dialogue. The dialogue of the media and public opinion is of quite a tragic country, but that is not the dialogue of the ordinary people. Most talk about their children and family, about the party at the weekend, about that trip away…”
Happiness has been linked to the extent to which people have free choice in how to live their lives, and according to Lemoine, “Here the people have a lot of freedom to do what they want, there is no repressive regime.”
Lemoine said that higher levels of education and income were positively correlated to happiness, while areas with higher levels of violence and high unemployment had lower happiness levels.