The above map shows how much freedom and control residents of various countries feel on average from one to 10.
The data comes from the 2010-2014 World Values Survey, the largest “non-commercial, cross-national, time series investigation of human beliefs and values ever executed.” It dates back to 1981 and has included nearly 400,000 respondents from 100 countries, which house 90% of the world’s population.
The question asked:
“Some people feel they have completely free choice and control over their lives, while other people feel that what they do has no real effect on what happens to them. Please use this scale where 1 means “no choice at all” and 10 means “a great deal of choice” to indicate how much freedom of choice and control you feel you have over the way your life turns out.”
Japan rounds out the bottom, with respondents reporting an average of 5.8. Russia comes in at a close second-to-last with six. Mexico takes the top spot. There, respondents rated their freedom and choice in life at an average 8.2.
Most notably, eleven countries, reported higher responses than the United States, with an average of 7.7. They include: Uruguay, New Zealand, Uzbekistan, Ecuador, Qatar, Romania, Slovenia, Kuwait, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Mexico.
For comparison, the U.S. average stayed about the same from the 2004-2009 wave, while Japan and Russia dropped significantly from 7.6 and 7.0, respectively.
Here’s a full ranking from least to greatest, excluding any missing values:
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