The 10 Most Miserable Countries in the World


Venezuela's home to pristine beaches, the world’s tallest waterfall, and the best breakfast food on Earth... but all that can't negate the fact it's the most miserable country on the planet.

According to the 2014 World Misery Index, published by the Cato Institute, Venezuela's the worst (or the best at misery, anyway) for the second year in a row. The Misery Index combines the inflation, unemployment, and lending rates of 108 countries with percent change in GDP per capita to calculate each nation's “misery index score.” Venezuela was the only country to score over 100, earning 106.03 points.

The next closest? Argentina, with a score of 68. To make it stand out even more, Syria came in third with a score of 63.9. If you're almost twice as bad as Syria at this point, your country is seriously screwed.

The index also assigns a "Major contributing factor," or MCF, to each nation to single out its worst asset. Venezuela's and Argentina's MCFs were consumer prices, while Syria's was unemployment.

As for the least miserable country, Brunei came in with a mere 4.94 rating, while Switzerland, land of neutrality and Europe’s best chocolate, was named the second best spot with 5.39 points, and Japan came in third-best, with a score of 5.69.

This year, the US improved its misery ranking, coming in at 95th (or 14th-best) with a score of 9.22. That's an improvement of 1.78 points over 2013, when the US ranked 71st. Maybe all those radio spins of Pharrell finally paid off.

But before you go and buy yourself an Arby's hat, here are the 10 most miserable countries in the world:

10. South Africa - 39.16
9. Jamaica - 39.85
8. Serbia - 40.32
7. Sao Tome and Principe - 42.06
6. Brazil - 42.79
5. Iran - 49.10
4. Ukraine - 51.80
3. Syria - 63.90
2. Argentina - 68
1. Venezuela - 106.03

Head here for the full index.

Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.