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Nigeria Ranked the 20th Saddest Nation in Forbes Ranking of the World’s Happiest & Saddest Countries



Nigerian people are known for many things;  but calling them sad has not gone down well with most citizens. Despite the widely spread belief that Nigerians are one of the happiest in the world based on their resilience and ability to smile even in the face of hardship, Forbes has ranked Nigeria as the 20th saddest country.

According to a recent Forbes ranking of the world’s happiest and saddest countries, Nigeria takes the 20th position among the saddest countries. Taking the first position on the list is the Central African Republic followed closely by the Republic of Congo and Afghanistan. Sudan takes the 18th position, Mozambique the 19th and Nigeria the 20th.

Among the world’s happiest countries, Norway ranked first, Denmark ranked second and Sweden ranked third. Canada took the 6th position, United States of America the 12th and United Kingdom the 13th among the world’s happiest countries.

Here’s what Forbes had to say about Nigeria:

20. (Saddest) Nigeria
The best of the worst, Nigeria ranks 123rd overall on the Legatum Prosperity Index. Decades of corruption have squandered great oil and gas wealth, while new concerns involve sectarian violence. In this picture (above) soldiers stand guard as people walk by near the site where a suicide attacker drove a car bomb into a Christian church in Kaduna, Nigeria, on October 28, 2012.

Full list of the world’s saddest countries:

1. Central African Republic
2. Republic of Congo
3. Afghanistan
4. Chad
5. Haiti
6. Burundi
7. Togo
8. Zimbabwe
9. Yemen
10. Ethopia
11. Pakistan
12. Iraq
13. Liberia,
14. Angola
15. Sierra Leone
16. Guinea
17. Ivory Coast
18. Sudan
19. Mozambique
20. Nigeria

So, what do you think? Do you agree that Nigeria is the 20th saddest country in the world?

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. Ides of March

    January 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Not really sure what these rankings/statistics are supposed to accomplish. Most of the reasons outlined above are well known facts, can we turn our attention to possible solutions instead of always talking about the problems?

  2. Floxy

    January 10, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Dem dey craze hv we ever told dem we nt happy in our country wht rite do dey have to rate us happy or sad bullcrap d we look unhappy for dere eye or re dey a learner me am happy or fellow nigerians re u not?

    • austin

      January 10, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      We are

  3. Obi

    January 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Obviously biased. USA ranked what? Please!!!!!!!!! In this pit of economic hardship where people are having trouble finding jobs, in this place where young folks take assault rifles to the streets and to schools to shoot people for no reason, in this place where depression is on more than 50% of patient’s past medical history list, where mood stabilizers and anxiolytics (among other psych drugs) are taken like they’re vitamins … HAPPIER than many African countries? I don’t think so.

    I can believe Norway o, but … (from a Nigerian who loves Nigeria).

    • Afrome

      October 12, 2013 at 12:42 am

      Tell me about it bro! Don’t forget the suicide and other related stuff going on in all these western nations. This is so biased! U.S shouldn’t even be near the list of happy people nor should any African nation be second to them in happiness

  4. Risi

    January 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    They are jokers! Why is it African & Asian countries that up the list? Is any country sadder than UK with the depressing weather and stiff-necked people? Forbes shouldgo and rest jo!

  5. Debo

    January 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Yes, we have reasons to be sad. However, statistical speaking, I feel we are not as, say, depressed/stressed/addicted to drugs etc like the 1st world countries because we chose not to be…Or perhaps I’m just wearing patriotism colored glasses.

  6. Tcooks

    January 10, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Just looks like a West vs the rest kinda classification… Don’t know who measured, and what parameters were used to measure. There is no perfect country, there is no completely safe place. Every country has their ups and downs, good and bad…. Sometimes some people are happier in naija than they are in the US, UK or other European countries.. I don’t know how they judged this but it will be unfair to look at technological advancements across the board and judge by that. In as much as people appreciate orderliness, accountability (in terms of crimes committed, and poeple being punished fairly for them), and constant supply of basic amenities (good roads, eectricity, water etc) that are seen more in the US and some countries in the wes (when compared to nigeria), they still don’t diss their country or say its the worst place to live in… I guess it all boils down to quality of life and what people regard as being important/necessary to make them happy in a place…. and in that case, it is highly subjective…. even if a survey is taken as to what is important, it may still not be entirely representative… i think its really unfair to place countries on this kind of list….

    • didi

      February 25, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      My thoughts exactly. What parameters were used to determine this? What was he criteria???? Abeg ooo, I’m one of the happiest people on the face of the earth, and that’s not because of any societal/ political or whatever affiliations. make dem go siddon, abeg! #ideyvex#

  7. Cee Frank

    January 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Hmm! Hilarious! The Nigerian that I am and the Nigerians that I know aren’t sad people. So for Forbes to rank us as such ,certainly leaves me with no option but to doubt the credibility and veracity of the ranking process. We can’t deny that yes Nigeria is passing through turbulent moments; boko haram menace etc but that doesn’t make us a sad nation.Countries all over the world face moments like this. Forbes should please do proper research and get their records right and should be aware that such unwholesome citations have far fetched and grevious effects on nations cited above with our country in particular

  8. hilda

    January 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    That is a pack of fiction
    Nigerians are resillent and will alwayws find a way out of tough situations.
    I livr in the UK and people are miserable here..Prozac and therapy is the order of the day.
    What nonsense…I was happier in Nigeria sef

  9. Miss T

    January 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Lmaoo! I like, any thing to make them look good. And then ill go to work tomorrow now and this madt Kim will strt tlking about how one prince she used to work with from a country in africa said he has a better quality life here than back home. Hisss they simply create what they want to believe, and british pple are here jumping infront of train and inuring bill jst because of christmas present. Worst of all tellin me how they need to take all sorts of anti depressants. Chewing gum stats

  10. chizo

    January 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    … Nigerians r suffering and smiling! what do ya call dat? happy or

    • Amanda Vaughn

      January 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Exactly what I was thinking.

    • Ladi

      January 10, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      You put it perfectly.

      List of Unhappy Nigerians:

      Taxi, danfo and bus drivers are not happy. Actually all drivers. Look at the way Nigerians drive and scream and honk at each other.

      The jobless graduates (50% of graduates) are not happy.

      Our parents even the better off ones are not happy with corruption, insecurity, poor infrastructure etc.

      We, who are typing this from outside the country, are only happy when we chill in Nigeria for a few weeks. Stay 3 months- now check your happiness level after NEPA and mosquitos have finished you. Ever notice how the Independence Day parties abroad are always popping and people at home well, in their homes.

      Suffering, miserably and Smiling

    • Ladi

      January 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      You put it perfectly.

      List of Unhappy Nigerians:

      Taxi, danfo and bus drivers are not happy. Actually all drivers. Look at the way Nigerians drive and scream and honk at each other.

      The jobless graduates (50% of graduates) are not happy.

      Our parents even the better off ones are not happy with corruption, insecurity, poor infrastructure etc.

      We, who are typing this from outside the country, are only happy when we chill in Nigeria for a few weeks. Stay 3 months- now check your happiness level after NEPA and mosquitos have finished you. Ever notice how the Independence Day parties abroad are always popping and people at home well, in their homes.

      Suffering, miserably and Smiling

    • Ari L.

      January 11, 2013 at 5:39 am

      I agree o!! Most people on bellenaija most likely experience a level of comfort! By God’s grace, I for one cannot say I have experienced poverty but I have seen poverty, hardship and a lot of people struggle in Nigeria.

      Call a spade a spade!

  11. Isioma

    January 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    The people rating are wrong,because I expected them to rate Nigeria as the saddest country in the world…There is no country in the world that has what Nigeria has,that are suffering what we are suffering….We produce more than two million barrels of crude oil and yet people are living in a place were there is no electricity,this is more than sadness,this is early to Grave…….

  12. leo

    January 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Forbes and d entire team are d sad,sick and silly people,cos only sad people knw pple who are sad…absolute rubbish..

  13. feisty chic

    January 10, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I think for them to rank they should look at the rate of suicides in each country or drug overdoses, then they can rank the countries effectively..

  14. Bode

    January 10, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    The credibility of Forbes has always been in question! This just seals it!!! Nigeria is not the safest, most prosperous but Sad? Idiots!

  15. m.h

    January 11, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Nigeria suffering and smiling! America dey have every possible basic amenities..i fink American ppl shld b amongst d happiest ppl..u r allowed to do wat ever will make u happy in d states…i fink dats one of d problem dey hv nw..

  16. HABBA

    January 11, 2013 at 1:20 am

    abeg ooo! nigerians are not sad! see how they put all of africa. and some of the mid east. they are crazy! people in nigeria are really happy. are we poor? yes are we suffering? yes but come on. Nigerians are always hustling for a better way. Now Are Europeans glad that they have put them at Number one happy? mchew. Half of them could not live the life we africans live with out COMMITTING SUICIDE!

    • the effing truth

      January 11, 2013 at 1:48 am

      whoever you are take five…GBAM!!!!! we are suffering but we not sad o…nigerians love groove trust me….i know the aboki down the street who barely earns enough but he is filled with hope that one day things will get better hence his happiness..forbes should go far and pass stool under a lagos bridge.

  17. NNENNE

    January 11, 2013 at 4:14 am


  18. NNENNE

    January 11, 2013 at 4:17 am

    @ Isioma…..Wealth and happiness are two different things.

  19. Pressplay

    January 11, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Not sure I completely agree, not knowing their ranking parameters. One thing is for sure tho, it’s a call for re-evaluation of where this great country of ours is, and where it should be. We have all the resources and nearly zero natural disasters unlike what most other countries have to content with yet here we are. Considering the rate at which violence, terrorism, corruption, unemployment among others are eating deep into our system, we shouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves tumbling even further down the rank. God Bless Nigeria.

  20. Lovinit

    January 11, 2013 at 6:51 am

    U guys should look at the headlines. It says Nigeria not Nigerians. I quite agree with this. This is a very sad country, people are suffering daily, no basic amenities. Yet sum few people squander our resources with impunity. Nigeria should have been No. 1 on dt list. We av so much, yet so little! Sad Sad.

    • Scarlet Xianne

      January 11, 2013 at 10:17 am

      God bless you. That’s what it means. They don’t mean Nigerians are sad. It’s the sad state of the nation they are talking about.


    January 11, 2013 at 8:33 am

    According to this list, most Africans are sad.

  22. oddy

    January 11, 2013 at 8:44 am

    We are….its just that we pretend to be happy….like Fela sang suffering and smiling………

  23. Obi

    January 11, 2013 at 9:12 am

    It depends on the parameters FORBES used to determine this result. I think its a toss up. Happiness is an abstract quality. Happiness can only be evaluated from a philosophical an or perception stand point. For example Is happines about having the most or needing the least? Most Nigerians do not need to have too much to be happy. For this reason I believe we are a happy people. Our sadness probably comes from the disapointment we feel everyday in our leadership because we know we Nigersians deserve a better standard of living. Our government can definiteley afford to do better for us too. Well, its a toss up…

  24. ola

    January 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

    suffering but smilling…

  25. Busy Sade

    January 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Anybody go just stand up dey give any statistics them like, na wa! One group said we were one of the happiest people, another group said our women were the most unfaithful, now we are a sad country. In conclusion , we are happy people living in a sad country full of unfaithful women. My conclusion, no statistics can define Nigeria and her citizens . We are strong, we have great potential on every level imaginable, we are feared we are respected we are who we are statistics does not define us.

  26. Kobi

    January 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Wait a miniute, so people in Niger republic and Papua New guinea are happier than Nigerians? We are sadder than Mali or even Somalia…….SOMALIA!! Countries with more flies than human beings!! Pls any one who agrees with this rating should spend his next vacation in Niger Republic or Papua New Guinea and tell us what he thinks. . . If he makes it back alive, or without diarrhea or manengitis. You all should look at the big picture here. FORBES, the people who carried out this study must be retarded.

  27. faith

    January 12, 2013 at 6:05 am


  28. Kpomo Men

    January 16, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Nigerians are sad jor. Went home (Aba, Abia State) last year after several years abroad. Golly, I spent just 10 days there and almosr suffered high blood pressure. People are suffering so much. Everything is such a hassle. You see hardship and stress written on most people’s faces and you tell me they’re happy? That’s bullshit. When civil servants work and don’t receive their monthly salary, you think they’re happy? When pensioners don’t get paid, and die gradually, you think they’re happy? When roads are unmotorable and people find it difficult moving from place to place for work or business, you think they’re happy? When governors collect monthly allocations and don’t do anything infrastructure wise for the masses, you think people are happy? Spare me that sentimental bullshit. Nigerians are one of the saddest in the world.

  29. chris eigbedion

    January 20, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    i believe their assessment, they should not ask Nigerians for contribution because the system has so work on us that we cannot differentiate happiness from sadness

  30. science boy

    December 23, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Abeg o ! spare me that, let us say the truth, people are not happy, let take an expirement for example , while walking or driving on the street , check out the percentage of people that are smiling then make your own conclusions . then you will see for yourself that that people are not happy you, you only support Nigeria because it is our country.

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