Map Options

Metric:
Color Scheme:
map placeholder
Misery Index 2023

50

100

150

200

250

300

350

Click on a country for details.

Worst Countries to Live in 2024

Snapshot

  • Countries with political strife, high inflation, unemployment, poor healthcare, and substandard education are considered the worst to live in.

  • The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) shows Central African countries, including South Sudan and Chad, as having the lowest quality of life.

  • The Hanke Misery Index, focusing on economic factors, lists Venezuela as the worst country to live in due to extreme inflation and unemployment.

Some countries are wonderful places to live. They have stable governments, reasonable prices for consumer goods, plenty of job opportunities, strong social programs, and robust systems for health care, education, and national security. They may even have ample nature spaces, such as national parks, and strong support for the arts and culture. These are general traits of high-income and developed countries, which is usually a nice place to call home.

On the other hand, picture a country whose residents must endure political strife (possibly even violence), rampant inflation, high unemployment, poor health care, substandard education, and uncertain security, with few social programs, let alone support for the arts. This troubled land would be an “undeveloped country,” possibly even one of the [“least developed countries”]((/country-rankings/least-developed-countries), and a much worse place to live. The question is, what is the best way to quickly encapsulate which is which?

Seeking the sub-standard: How to identify the worst countries in which to live

There are several annual metrics designed to measure the quality of day-to-day life in a given country. Some of these metrics concentrate upon a single aspect of a country—for instance, the Hanke Misery Index focuses upon the economy, knowing that a healthy economy is a strong indicator of the quality of the day-to-day life of a country's residents. Others, such as the United Nations' Human Development Index (HDI), compile a wide range of metrics across a half-dozen or more categories for a more overarching, whole-life approach. These different approaches can result in very different lists of the worst countries in the world in which to live.

Top 10 Worst Countries in the World to Live In - United Nations Human Development Index 2021/22

Note: Scores rank from 0.0 to 1.0. Higher is better.

Country
HDI 2021
South Sudan0.381
Central African Republic0.387
Niger0.389
Chad0.393
Mali0.408
Burundi0.419
Yemen0.425
Burkina Faso0.445
Sierra Leone0.456
Mozambique0.459

Central African countries dominate this list. Many of these countries, including Niger, Chad, South Sudan, Mali, and Burkina Faso, are currently at war thanks to civil war, ethnic violence, or terrorist insurgencies. Even for those countries that are not plagued with strife, most people attend school for only a few years, and good jobs are rare, which leaves millions of people living below the poverty line. For example, the average person in Niger attends only 2.1 years of school, and the country's Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is $1201 PPP. To put that in perspective, top-ranked Norway (HDI .957) has a GNI of $66,494 and its citizens attend 12.9 years of school on average. A full list of the most recent HDI rankings can be found on our HDI by country page.

Top 10 Worst Countries in the World to Live In - Hanke Misery Index 2020

The misery index was originally introduced by the late Arthur Okun, a Yale University economist, as a way to track the U.S. economy. More recently, John Hopkins economist Steve Hanke expanded the concept to include 156 countries and established an annual ranking of the world's best and worst countries to live in from an economic perspective. The misery index is simple in concept. The equation adds together the unemployment rate, inflation rate, and bank lending rate, then subtracts the percentage change in real GDP per capita. For most developed countries, the misery index hovers between a very good 0.00 and a passable 20.00. However, it is possible in extreme cases for a country to score so well that its misery index is a negative number—for example, in 2020, oil reserves were discovered in Guyana, resulting in a 25% boost in GDP per capita and a -3.3 misery index.

On the other hand, 2020's worst country in the world to live in, Venezuela, demonstrates the worse end of the equation. 2020 is the sixth year in a row that Venezuela has received this dubious designation—and given the country's 3,713% inflation and 50.3% unemployment rate, which easily overshadow a 30.9% rise in real GDP per capita for an ultimate misery index score of 3827.6, Venezuela seems well on its way to holding onto its best-of-the-worst spot for the foreseeable future.

Country
Misery Index 2023
Thailand6.60
Japan7.00
Switzerland8.70
Qatar9.30
Malta9.50
China9.80
Ivory Coast11.00
Togo11.20
Taiwan11.20
Netherlands11.90

Download Table Data

Enter your email below, and you'll receive this table's data in your inbox momentarily.

Country
Misery Index 2023
HDI 2022
HDI 2021
Argentina321.800.850.844
Venezuela276.300.700.690
Lebanon266.100.720.725
Syria251.400.560.558
Zimbabwe242.200.550.549
Sudan212.900.520.516
Turkey108.500.850.841
Tonga77.900.740.738
Yemen76.700.420.425
South Africa75.600.720.721
Iran73.200.780.776
Malawi73.200.510.509
Pakistan71.000.540.537
Angola67.400.590.590
Myanmar65.400.610.599
Bosnia and Herzegovina65.200.780.776
Ukraine65.000.730.755
Egypt64.800.730.726
Haiti64.400.550.551
Suriname63.600.690.689
Sao Tome and Principe63.500.610.609
Brazil61.500.760.756
Ghana60.800.600.600
Madagascar60.000.490.484
Republic of the Congo59.10
Eswatini59.000.610.612
Nigeria56.200.550.542
Rwanda56.100.550.539
Botswana55.700.710.680
Namibia53.300.610.616
Jordan52.900.740.736
Lesotho51.200.520.522
Iraq50.800.670.667
Gabon50.700.690.687
Colombia50.500.760.752
Algeria49.800.740.740
Ethiopia47.900.490.489
Tunisia46.200.730.729
Gambia45.400.490.490
Uzbekistan41.500.730.721
Mozambique41.400.460.459
Sri Lanka41.200.780.783
Kyrgyzstan41.200.700.696
DR Congo40.500.480.475
Libya39.600.750.746
Central African Republic37.600.390.387
Georgia36.700.810.809
Jamaica36.700.710.704
Equatorial Guinea36.200.650.647
Mauritania35.700.540.538
Honduras35.500.620.620
Mongolia35.400.740.730
North Macedonia35.300.770.764
Liberia34.900.490.484
Guinea34.600.470.467
Morocco33.500.700.688
Chile33.500.860.856
Serbia33.500.810.804
Uruguay33.500.830.814
Kazakhstan33.400.800.801
Montenegro33.400.840.840
Peru33.000.760.755
Saudi Arabia32.700.880.867
Paraguay31.600.730.730
Cuba31.500.760.742
Uganda31.400.550.545
Burundi31.300.420.419
Hungary31.200.850.846
Estonia30.800.900.890
Nepal29.800.600.591
Spain29.600.910.904
Zambia28.700.570.565
Greece28.600.890.887
Kenya28.400.600.596
Armenia28.400.790.774
India28.300.640.633
Poland27.600.880.876
Dominican Republic27.600.770.756
Azerbaijan27.100.760.738
Romania25.200.830.825
Mauritius24.900.800.790
Chad24.700.390.393
New Zealand24.700.940.936
Bangladesh24.500.670.662
Slovakia24.100.850.852
Moldova23.800.760.767
Comoros23.700.590.585
Sweden23.600.950.949
Cape Verde23.300.660.650
Luxembourg23.100.930.927
Cameroon22.700.590.581
Vanuatu22.600.610.614
Barbados22.400.810.803
Panama22.300.820.813
Tanzania22.200.530.529
Lithuania21.600.880.875
Russia21.400.820.818
Canada21.200.940.934
Ireland21.000.950.946
Costa Rica20.800.810.804
France20.600.910.906
Finland20.600.940.941
Guatemala20.500.630.630
Austria20.400.930.920
Nicaragua20.100.670.665
Albania20.100.790.785
United Kingdom20.000.940.931
Italy19.900.910.899
Portugal19.900.870.865
Latvia19.700.880.865
Mexico19.600.780.757
Laos19.500.620.615
Iceland19.500.960.957
Papua New Guinea19.300.570.564
Belarus19.200.800.801
Australia19.000.950.949
Bulgaria18.500.800.796
El Salvador18.400.670.669
Niger18.200.390.389
Indonesia18.000.710.707
Croatia18.000.880.867
Cyprus17.900.910.901
Trinidad and Tobago17.700.810.804
Czech Republic17.500.900.891
Slovenia17.300.930.916
Norway17.200.970.964
Kuwait17.200.850.836
Philippines16.800.710.692
Burkina Faso16.800.440.445
Bolivia16.800.700.691
Singapore16.800.950.942
United States16.700.930.921
Israel16.600.920.911
Ecuador16.300.770.746
Guinea Bissau15.500.480.482
United Arab Emirates15.000.940.931
Vietnam14.700.730.718
Belgium14.200.940.938
Mali14.000.410.408
Germany13.500.950.948
Hong Kong13.000.960.959
Malaysia12.800.810.798
Denmark12.700.950.947
Bahrain12.500.890.884
Oman12.200.820.810
Fiji12.200.730.715
South Korea12.000.930.926
Netherlands11.900.950.941
Taiwan11.20
Togo11.200.550.545
Ivory Coast11.000.530.530
China9.800.790.785
Malta9.500.920.912
Qatar9.300.880.864
Switzerland8.700.970.965
Japan7.000.920.920
Thailand6.600.800.797
Afghanistan0.460.473
Somalia0.38
Senegal0.520.512
Cambodia0.600.596
Benin0.500.502
South Sudan0.380.381
Tajikistan0.680.677
Sierra Leone0.460.456
Turkmenistan0.740.740
Palestine0.720.715
Eritrea0.490.490
Timor Leste0.570.574
Djibouti0.520.512
Guyana0.740.721
Bhutan0.680.677
Solomon Islands0.560.564
Maldives0.760.753
Brunei0.820.824
Belize0.700.698
Bahamas0.820.799
Samoa0.700.708
Saint Lucia0.720.717
Kiribati0.630.627
Grenada0.790.788
Micronesia0.630.634
Seychelles0.800.795
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines0.770.773
Antigua and Barbuda0.830.819
Andorra0.880.855
Dominica0.740.737
Saint Kitts and Nevis0.840.832
Marshall Islands0.730.729
Liechtenstein0.940.936
San Marino0.870.853
Palau0.800.802
Nauru0.700.693
Tuvalu0.650.653
Total0.722
showing: 194 rows

What is the harshest country in the world?

Based on the United Nations Human Development Index, South Sudan is the harshest country in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources