A survey on pessimistic nations

Nicola Harrington - guest blogger living in France with 7 holiday rental gites

A very serious French national newspaper recently claimed that the French as a nation have won the gold medal in being the most pessimistic race (“les champions du monde du pessimisme!”) and also that French negativity and pessimism are world-renowned.

In order to get this surprising result, a survey has been carried out in 53 different countries. It turns out that in France, 61% of the people surveyed thought their social and economic conditions were not ideal and worse still, that they were even worsening. It is worth mentioning that the survey average for all 53 countries was as low as 28%! Quite a difference…

So the question we are asking is this: why are the French so pessimistic? In our eyes, they have so many reasons to be cheerful! As we find these published figures extremely interesting, let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why the French as a nation should really show a bit more optimism when it comes to their general life conditions:

Are the French justified to be so negative?

Various countries flags

* For a start the French live longer than other nationalities in the world. The average life expectancy for a man is 78 years old and for a woman, the lifespan is even higher, with an impressive 85. In actual fact, figures show that there are over 15,000 hundred-year-olds in France. A staggering figure!

* The health system in France has a (well-deserved, in our opinion) reputation for being the best in the world. There are twice as many hospital beds across the country than there are in England, for example.

* They have an excellent (albeit expensive!) road network. If offers good quality, is well maintained and is generally not as crowded as the network we have in the UK, for example (this is not taking into account the periphery of cities such as Paris, Lyon or Bordeaux which can also suffer from diabolical traffic congestion regularly). Motorway fees are certainly expensive, this is true, but on the other hand, the results are there and we certainly think the fees are worth every penny. We travel frequently from Le Havre down to Bordeaux on motorways (a journey of around 650 kilometres or just over 400 miles costing nearly 60 euros in toll fees), but the entire experience is smooth and hassle-free, with frequent quality service stations along the way and excellent general road conditions., which put together make for very pleasant driving.

* Statutory 5 weeks holiday a year, and when you remember that the majority of French people work just a 35-hour week and that they benefit from 11 bank holidays a year, this certainly can’t be bad.

* The population density is just 100 inhabitants per square kilometre, compared to the UK’s crowded 250 people per km2.

* And finally, to top it all, the overall climate is mostly great, generally offering lots of sunshine with temperatures not too hot nor too cold. As a general rule, nothing too extreme (obviously, this is dependent on the region).

Editor’s note

Editor’s Note : So, do you agree that the French as a nation are more pessimistic than other nations or are the media wrong? If so, are they right to be more pessimistic than the rest of the world? Do you live in France, or have lived there or even spend a lot of time on holiday there? Can you tell the difference with the mentality in the United Kingdom, for instance? We would be very interested in reading your views, so please feel free to add your comments below…

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