It’s unrivalled as a nation when it comes to clockwork, chocolate and cheese.
But now there’s another accolade Switzerland can brag about — it is officially the least miserable country in the world.
That is according to an annual ‘misery index’, which ranks almost 160 countries on factors like unemployment figures, inflation and bank-lending rates.
The central European country, nestled in the heart of the Alps and home to roughly nine million people, has now ranked the among the top twenty for seven years in a row.
The central European country, home to roughly nine million people, has now ranked the among the top twenty for seven years in a row. Switzerland, which is famed for its decadent chocolate and creamy cheese, is one of the richest in the world and is among the best for life expectancy
Switzerland is one of the richest nations in the world, blessed with one the highest life expectancies, a hugely-praised education system and stable economy.
Hanke’s Annual Misery Index ranked Kuwait second, Ireland third and Japan fourth.
Britain came 29th, however, after ranking fourth in 2021’s edition.
Professor Steve Hanke, the economist behind the ranking, claimed that inflation — which stood at 10.1 per cent in March — has been a ‘major contributing factor’ to it sliding down the chart.
Despite now trending downwards, it sparked the biggest surge in food prices since 1977 and added £800 to the average household’s annual bill.
Unemployment rates have also been inconsistent.
The UK unemployment rate for those aged 16 and over was 4.9 per cent in January, 2021, in, 2022, it dipped to 3.7 per cent before increasing slightly in 2023 to 3.9 per cent.
But the US went the other way and leapfrogged Britain, jumping from 55th to 24th.
Unemployment was the biggest impact factor, with just 3.4 per cent of Americans (5.7million) jobless in April — the lowest level in decades.
Professor Hanke said one of one the biggest factors behind Switzerland’s success is the country’s Swiss debt brake – a mechanism for overall management of the budget with the aim of preventing chronic deficits and rising debt levels.
The economist said it has ‘worked like a charm’.
The misery ranking is based on an algorithm which gives each nation a score based on their unemployment, inflation, interest rates and GDP growth.
It does not take any other metrics into account, such as polls of residents or health.
The scores are the sum of unemployment (multiplied by two), inflation, and bank-lending rates, minus the annual percentage change in real GDP per capita.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is the world’s most miserable country, trumping Venezuela, Cuba and war-torn Syria.
Professor Hanke said one of the biggest factors behind Zimbabwe’s ‘most miserable’ ranking is its political party ruling with an ‘iron grip’. There have been allegations of rigging and violence around elections over the last three decades.
Zimbabwe, home to roughly 16million people, has been beset by eye-watering spikes in the cost of living for decades and controversial former president Robert Mugabe, whose 37 years in power were beset by corruption and violence. Under Mugabe and his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa (right), Zimbabwe has suffered two episodes of hyperinflation — when prices rise by 50 per cent or more month-on-month
And under Mugabe and his successor president Emmerson Mnangagwa, it has suffered two episodes of hyperinflation — when prices rise by 50 per cent or more month-on-month.
The plummeting value of its currency resulted in shocking scenes of people filling buckets with cash — just to purchase a loaf of bread.
He said: ‘With elections around the corner, [opposition leader] Nelson Chamisa and his Citizens Coalition for Change is polling well, and, on the assumption that there will be fair and free elections in Zimbabwe, he just might pull Zimbabwe out of the gutter.’
Chamisa, who is popular among the young and unemployed, has pledged to solve the nation’s economic plight.
Along with Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan are also among the most miserable.
Last year’s least miserable nation Libya – whose oil revenues increased by around 3.7 times in 2021, causing its GDP per capita grow to a record 62.6 percent – in now 127th, just 22 places ahead of war-torn Ukraine.