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Bulgaria, Armenia and Cambodia Lead 'Suffering' Index

File - Protesters opposing the Socialist-led government throw objects at a heavily guarded bus transporting deputies out of parliament where they had been discussing budget measures, Sofia, Bulgaria, July 23, 2013.
Bulgaria once again leads the world in suffering, according to a survey of worldwide suffering done by the polling company Gallup.

Thirty-nine percent of Bulgarians rated their lives poorly enough in 2012 to be considered suffering, Gallup said in a statement. Bulgaria has topped the list for three years in a row.

Not far behind Bulgaria were Cambodia, Armenia, Haiti, Hungary, Macedonia and Iran.

The countries with the least amount of reported suffering included Iceland, Qatar, Sweden and Norway.

Gallup classifies respondents as "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering" according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from zero to 10. Gallup considers people to be suffering if they rate their current lives a 4 or lower and their lives in five years a 4 or lower. The respondents do not label themselves as suffering.

In 20 out of 143 countries and areas surveyed in 2012, at least a quarter of the adult population rated their lives poorly enough to be considered suffering. Those countries span most world regions, including six places in crisis-hit Europe. Worldwide, one in seven adults was suffering in 2012. South Asia led the world in suffering at 24 percent, followed by 21 percent in the Balkans and the Middle East and North Africa regions.

Suffering was 2 percent or less in 17 countries and areas -- most of them wealthier and more developed countries. Some developing countries also had low levels of suffering, including Thailand, Venezuela, Nigeria, the Somaliland region and Libya.

According to Gallup, suffering in Venezuela has always been in the single digits, yet in 2012, suffering was exceptionally low possibly because of a massive government spending spree in the run up to elections in October of last year.

In Libya, the low number may be because people were still happy about having deposed Moammar Gadhafi, who ruled in a dictatorship lasting more than four decades.

In the United States, only four percent of those surveyed reported suffering in 2012.

Gallup says the results are based on telephone and face-to face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 or older, in each country.

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