10 Least & Most Anxious Countries In The World

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Japan has one of the lowest anxiety rates globally, with only 2.54% of its population experiencing anxiety. This places Japan among the least anxious countries in the world, on par with Tajikistan and below Vietnam, Mongolia and Kazakhstan.

Least Anxious Countries

RankCountryAnxiety Rate
1Uzbekistan2.14%
2Kyrgyzstan2.18%
3Kazakhstan2.26%
4Mongolia2.27%
5Vietnam2.39%
6Turkmenistan2.49%
7Tajikistan2.54%
8Japan2.54%
9Azerbaijan2.64%
10Georgia2.66%

Several factors may contribute to Japan’s relatively low anxiety rates compared to most other developed economies. Japanese culture emphasizes social harmony and reserved emotional expression, which could lead to underreporting of anxiety symptoms. The Japanese also have relatively strong social safety nets and affordable healthcare. Additionally, aspects of the traditional Japanese diet, like fish and green tea, may have protective effects against anxiety.

Still, while better than most countries, 1 in 40 Japanese suffer from clinically significant anxiety. With global connectivity and economic pressures, there are concerns younger Japanese generations may see rising rates in the future.

Most Anxious Countries

RankCountryAnxiety Rate
1Portugal8.79%
2New Zealand8.04%
3Brazil7.77%
4 (tie)Iran7.62%
4 (tie)Ireland7.62%
6Switzerland7.49%
7Netherlands7.45%
8Norway7.30%
9Northern Ireland7.07%
10Cyprus7.01%

Portugal has the highest anxiety rate in the world at 8.79% of its population. High rates of anxiety were seen across Western Europe, with 7 countries in the top 15. New Zealand, Brazil, Iran and Ireland among the top 10, all with rates above 7%.

The average global anxiety rate is 3.94%, meaning over 120 countries have higher rates. Many countries saw increased anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic – with an estimated global rise of 25% during 2020 and 2021.

In contrast to Japan, the top anxious countries contend with high rates of factors that can trigger anxiety disorders – conflict, violence, poverty, lack of opportunity, poor diets and limited access to mental healthcare. Countries recently facing major societal disruptions, like climate disasters, political instability and the pandemic, saw anxiety spike.

Portugal’s place at the top results from the combined impacts of economic crisis, austerity measures and having the 3rd highest cocaine use globally in the 2010s. Meanwhile, New Zealand, Brazil and Iran continue to grapple with socioeconomic inequality, trauma from violence/unrest and lack of youth opportunities driving anxiety.

Still, positive policy changes and societal shifts can relieve anxiety over time. Ireland saw anxiety rates drop over the past decade after boosting mental health funding following recession-driven cuts in the 2000s. Communication campaigns to reduce stigma also empower more people to seek support early.

While global anxiety has risen recently, continued awareness, advocacy and access to quality mental healthcare can bend the curve back down. Key will be focusing resources on those most disproportionately impacted by factors driving poor mental health outcomes. If social and systemic drivers can be addressed, a healthier, less anxious world is possible.

Data Source: ourworldindata

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