Saudi Arabia is ranked 40th on the Misery Index
Saudi Arabia has been ranked the 40th most miserable country in the world in an index that also puts Qatar at 84th.
Other GCC states, including the UAE, are not included in the analysis, which is based on the sum of inflation, lending rates and unemployment rates, minus year-on-year per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
Its authors at the Cato Institute in the US say economic factors are a strong indicator of citizens’ happiness.
Venezuelans are the least happy, with a misery index score of 79.4, mostly thanks to super high inflation, which last year was officially 56.2 percent, but analysts suggest it was five times that rate.
Saudi Arabia’s misery score of 18.9 was led by unemployment, which government statistics suggest is in the teens. The government is attempting to address unemployment by reducing the number of foreign workers – about 9 million – and enforcing Saudisation quotas in the private sector.
Qatar fared far better among the 90 countries analysed, with a relatively low misery score of 7.39.
That was mostly influenced by inflation. In February, Qatar National Bank said it expected the country’s inflation rate to rise to 3.8 percent this year, compared to 3.1 percent in 2013, on the back of increased land prices and rents.
The most miserable Middle Eastern country included in the index is Egypt - ranked 6th with a score of 38.1, fuelled by high unemployment amid an ongoing crisis.
It was followed by Palestine (12th), Turkey (13th), Jordan (22nd), Tunisia (30th) Algeria (46th) and Morocco (58th).
Japan is the happiest country, according to the index.