'World Misery Index' Puts U.S. Between Romania and Hungary


Inskora, Foter

Steve Hanke, co-Director of Applied Economics at the libertarian Cato Institute today released what he calls the "World Misery Index." The United States' position is not encouraging.

The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave lands itself in spot 66 (the lower the number, the worse), right between Romania and Hungary. The least miserable country in the world is Switzerland, at spot 109. Our beloved northern neighbors, Canada, beat us by 30 spots. Perhaps the only thing it ranks #1 in these days, Syria is crowned the world's most miserable country.

Hanke explains, "Every country aims to lower inflation, unemployment, and lending rates, while increasing gross domestic product (GDP) per capita." He created his ranking system "through a simple sum of the former three rates, minus year-on-year per capita GDP growth." The "largest contributing factor" to American misery is unemployment.

Earlier this year a Gallup poll found the percentage of people who feel satisfied with their level of freedom has plummeted from 91 percent to 79 percent in the last eight years. Another Gallup poll found that Americans think government itself is the biggest threat facing our nation. Reason's J.D. Tuccille suggested that people feel these ways because they're true.  He laid out several other indices: The Index of Economic Freedom, which found "the U.S. is the only country to have recorded a loss of economic freedom each of the past seven years. The overall U.S. score decline from 1995 to 2014 is 1.2 points, the fourth worst drop among advanced economies"; The Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report gave an even harsher assessment, dropping the U.S. from 3rd to 19th in a decade; The World Press Freedom Index and the Committee to Protect Journalists have also sounded the alarm that press freedom is on the decline in this country. 

Here's Hanke's full index:

Cato Institute