The 27 most 'miserable' countries in the world

Chris McGrath/Getty Images
  • A country’s unemployment and inflation rates are strong indicators of how its economy is doing.
  • Greece and Spain are among the most miserable countries in Europe by this economic measure, the “Misery Index.”
  • These are the 27 most “miserable” countries – places where the unemployment rate combined with the inflation rate is above 15%.

It’s hard to get by when you don’t have a job and the cost of living keeps rising.

This is the maxim behind economist Arthur Okun’s “Misery Index,” which adds together a country’s unemployment and inflation rates. The higher the number, the more “miserable” your country.

There has been criticism of the index. Extensive studies have shown that unemployment influences happiness (or, rather, unhappiness) significantly more than inflation.

Still, few would argue that both unemployment and inflation are bad when they are very high.

In light of that, Business Insider compiled a list of the 27 most miserable countries based on 2017 data available at the CIA World Factbook. Some countries struggle with both high unemployment and inflation, while others have one rate asymmetrically higher than the other.

Some countries are absent from the list because data was either unavailable or outdated. Venezuela and South Sudan – for instance – are both going through periods of massive inflation but the CIA World Factbook does not provide a rate for either country.

Elena Holodny contributed to a previous version of this story.


27. Jamaica

Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images)

Misery-index score: 15.6

CPI inflation: 3.4%

Unemployment: 12.2%


26. Tunisia

Misery-index score: 17.5

CPI inflation: 4.5%

Unemployment: 13.0%


25. Eritrea

Misery-index score: 17.6

CPI inflation: 9.0%

Unemployment: 8.6%


24. Uzbekistan

Victor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images

Misery-index score: 17.9

CPI inflation: 13.0%

Unemployment: 4.9%


23. Azerbaijan

Misery-index score: 18.0

CPI inflation: 12.0%

Unemployment: 6.0%


22. Serbia

Misery-index score: 19.4

CPI inflation: 3.4%

Unemployment: 16.0%


21. Jordan

Khalil Mazraahwi/AFP/Getty Images

Misery-index score: 19.8

CPI inflation: 3.3%

Unemployment: 16.5%


20. Armenia

Misery-index score: 20.8

CPI inflation: 1.9%

Unemployment: 18.9%


19. Turkey

Misery-index score: 22.1

CPI inflation: 10.9%

Unemployment: 11.2%


18. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Andrej Isanovic/AFP/Getty Images

Misery-index score: 22.3

CPI inflation: 1.8%

Unemployment: 20.5%


17. Ukraine

Misery-index score: 22.6

CPI inflation: 12.8%

Unemployment: 9.5%


16. Iran

Misery-index score: 22.9

CPI inflation: 10.5%

Unemployment: 12.4%


15. Greece

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Getty

Misery-index score: 23.5

CPI inflation: 1.2%

Unemployment: 22.3%


14. Ghana

Misery-index score: 23.7

CPI inflation: 11.8%

Unemployment: 11.9%


13. Macedonia

Misery-index score: 23.7

CPI inflation: 0.3%

Unemployment: 23.4%


12.

WIilliam West/AFP/Getty Images

Misery-index score: 29.1

CPI inflation: 2.0%

Unemployment: 27.1%


11. Nigeria

Misery-index score: 29.7

CPI inflation: 16.3%

Unemployment: 13.4%


10. Suriname

Misery-index score: 31.4

CPI inflation: 22.3%

Unemployment: 9.1%


9. Lesotho

Gulshan Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Misery-index score: 32.0

CPI inflation: 3.9%

Unemployment: 28.1%


8. South Africa

Misery-index score: 33.0

CPI inflation: 5.4%

Unemployment: 27.6%


7. Argentina

Misery-index score: 35.0

CPI inflation: 26.9%

Unemployment: 8.1%


6. Egypt

Ibrahim Ezzat/AFP/Getty Images

Misery-index score: 35.7

CPI inflation: 23.5%

Unemployment: 12.2%


5. Mozambique

Misery-index score: 39.9

CPI inflation: 17.5%

Unemployment: 22.4%


4. Sudan

Misery-index score: 46.5

CPI inflation: 26.9%

Unemployment: 19.6%


3. Yemen

Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

Misery-index score: 47.0

CPI inflation: 20.0%

Unemployment: 27%


2. Djibouti

Misery-index score: 63.0

CPI inflation: 3.0%

Unemployment: 60%


1. Syria

Misery-index score: 75.5

CPI inflation: 25.5%

Unemployment: 50.0%

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