Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Saudi Arabia ranked most 'miserable' country in the Gulf

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flag Pop Culture Middle East blog
We've heard about the happiest countries in the world. Every year those pesky blond Scandinavian nations in the north with their high literacy rates and unnaturally tanned citizens score highly on their GDP, social capital and safety and security. And then there are those poor countries in South America and Asia that fly in the face of such studies who rank low for such indicators, but whose citizens report having a high quality of life.
But enough with happiness and well-being. What about MISERY? GLOOM? DESPAIR?

We haven't had enough of that recently have we?

Nope. So let's move on to the WORLD MISERY INDEX. YES, LET'S.

The CATO Institute, which sounds like some kind of cover for a villainous organization, ranked countries based on their national inflation rates, lending rates, unemployment numbers and GDP to gauge how unhappy nations across the globe are.

And guess what?

SAUDI ARABIA IS THE MOST MISERABLE COUNTRY IN THE GCC. As if I needed some old white guys tinkering away at their graphs and calculators to tell me that. Apparently Saudi is miserable, miserable like Eeyore the donkey, miserable like me at New Year's Eve 1996, when EVERYONE was going on and on about how adorable my younger brother was, miserable like Keanu Reeves sitting at a park bench.

Why is it miserable you ask? Is it because it's really really hot most of the year? Is it because women can't drive and have to rely on their male relatives and/or drivers if they happen to be available? Is it because there is literally nothing to do except go to the mall? No! Not at all.

According to CATO, the main reason why life in the kingdom is so miserable is because of unemployment, which hovers at around 5.5%. While Saudi is the most miserable country in the Gulf, it ranks at 18 among 108 other countries. Syria has the most misery out of any other countries in the Middle East, while Palestine comes in at 17, with Egypt following at 18, and Jordan at 36. Qatar is ranked 82nd, Bahrain 91 and Kuwait 92.

How a thing as subjective as misery can be measured is beyond me. Sure these guys used quantitative data that they could measure, but they didn't ask anybody in any of these countries how they feel.

I mean, you can have no job and be happy. Right? RIGHT?


  1. Surely 5.5% unemployment rate is quite good, no? I think the searing heat and having to wear black all the time would make me quite miserable though, I'm guessing the malls have good air conditioning. ;-)

    1. That still makes for 1.4 million miserable, unemployed people. But when you compare that to the population, I guess it's not that much? It just goes to show that you can't measure misery just from one factor.