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Posted at 09:32 AM ET, 07/26/2012

Greeks are most pessimistic about their futures

As debt inspectors meet with Greek government officials Thursday to determine whether to continue providing rescue loans to the beleaguered country, there is a mood of uncertainty about the country’s ability to meet the terms of the European bailout.

But the proposed budget cuts wouldn’t just dig into Greek pensions. Apparently, Greece’s ongoing financial woes are taking a heavy toll on Greeks’ life outlook, as well.


A pensioner raises his arm during an anti-austerity rally in Athens on Feb. 14, 2012. (John Kolesidis - Reuters)

Greeks are the most pessimistic people in the world about the direction of their lives, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday. More than four in 10 Greeks in 2011 expected their lives in five years to be worse than they are now.

By comparison, only 33 percent of people in Syria, the next most-pessimistic country, said the same. Czech Republic and Portugal were approximately tied with Syria. The survey in Syria was taken in 2011, before the violence escalated to the current degree.

Europe in general is feeling less optimistic than the rest of the world, but Greeks seem to have the gloomiest perspective:

“The pessimism among Greeks bucks a global trend — people in most countries tend to expect their lives in five years to be better than their current lives, whether they rate their lives highly or not. In Greece, 25 percent in 2011 expressed such optimism, compared with a median of 36 percent in Europe and 66 percent worldwide,” Gallup wrote.

It’s worth noting, though, that a bustling economy isn’t a prerequisite for feeling hopeful: Poorer countries like Togo, Central African Republic and Comoros all had optimism ratings above 90 percent, meaning they predicted their future lives would be better than their current lives.

Still, the authors warn that pessimism could undermine any progress Greece’s new government might be making:

“This lack of optimism is potentially an even more serious concern than current low life evaluations,” Gallup wrote, “as pessimism and hopelessness can have serious implications for social stability.”

See photos from the Greek debt protests earlier this year:

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By  |  09:32 AM ET, 07/26/2012

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