March 23 (UPI) -- In contrast with the generally thriving residents of Norway, people in South Sudan, Haiti and Ukraine top a Gallup survey of the most suffering countries in 2016.
In survey results released Thursday, three nations spanning three continents were the least favorable as rated by their own citizens. Gallup asked people to rate their lives on a scale of one to 10 as things exist presently, and where they view themselves in five years.
Gallup considers an individual "thriving" if they rate their present life with a seven or higher and their future as an eight or higher. People are considered "suffering" if they rate their present and future lives at four or lower.
The nation with the highest percentage of people rated suffering was South Sudan, with 47 percent rating their lives four or lower. Just 9 percent rated themselves as thriving. Since winning its independence in 2011, the African nation has been subsumed by poverty, famine and a bloody civil war.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, was second on the list. Hurricane Matthew devastated the island in 2016, only six years after a powerful earthquake that leveled the country previously, meaning natural disasters have put immense stress on a nation with little infrastructure to handle even normal daily challenges. Accordingly, homelessness and access to healthcare are among the chief concerns in a nation where 43 percent rate themselves as suffering. Only 3 percent consider themselves thriving.
Ukraine is the only European nation near the bottom of the list. Though the top three countries on the United Nations Happiness index released earlier this week are in northern Europe -- Norway, Denmark and Iceland -- Ukraine in southeastern Europe has been ravaged by political violence. The fighting between pro-government forces and Russian-backed separatists has put a damper on an already-flagging economy. Forty-one percent of Ukrainians rated themselves as suffering, and a majority, 57 percent, said things are getting worse.
The Gallup survey includes data collected by telephone and in-person interviews from 2006 to 2016. The margin of error varies by country.