Including India (24 percent), at least one in five residents in Nepal (31 percent), Afghanistan (30 percent), Sri Lanka (22 percent), and Pakistan (21 percent) rated their lives poorly enough to be considered "suffering", according to a Gallup poll released Monday.
Bangladesh is the only South Asian country where suffering is significantly lower than its regional neighbours, at 10 percent, the leading US opinion pollster said.
Gallup classifies respondents as "thriving", "struggling", or "suffering" according to how they rate their current and future lives on a scale of 0 to 10.
Those who rate their present life a 7 or higher and their life in five years an 8 or higher are classified as thriving, while those who rate both dimensions a 4 or lower are considered suffering. Respondents whose ratings fall in between are considered struggling.
The relatively high levels of suffering in South Asia likely reflect the economic turmoil, war, conflict, domestic terrorism, or separatist movements that have afflicted many of these countries in the past decade, Gallup said.
Additionally, most South Asian countries currently have higher levels of unemployment and corruption and lower levels of college education than the rest of Asia.
Relatively low levels of suffering in Bangladesh may be related to their educational attainment, Gallup said noting it was the highest in South Asia -- 50 percent of the adult population has at least secondary or higher education.