According to the BVA-Gallup poll of 53 countries, the French are the world champions of scepticism, with 61 per cent of respondents saying 2011 will be "a year of economic difficulty".
Britons were not far behind on 52 per cent, Spaniards 48 per cent and Italians 41 per cent, the 'Daily Mail' said.
The poll found that 67 per cent of French respondents believed unemployment would rise over the next 12 months. In fact, employment was also a major concern in the UK, with 74 per cent of Britons believing unemployment would increase.
The overall negative sentiment in Europe comes in stark contrast to the emerging economies in Asia, South America and Africa, where citizens are generally optimistic about the New Year.
In Brazil, India and China, 49 per cent of respondents said they believed 2011 would be economically prosperous, with only 14 per cent predicting hardship.
Vietnam topped the optimism rating with 70 per cent Vietnamese expressing confidence in the economic outlook for 2011, the survey found.
Confidence also reigns in Nigeria, where 80 per cent of respondents expect their financial situation to improve this year.
Even in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, respondents appeared to look forward to a brighter future with only 14 per cent of Afghans and 12 per cent of Iraqis fearing a deterioration of their situation.
The poll was conducted from October 11 to December 13, 2010, in 53 countries. Over 63,000 people were interviewed by telephone, face-to-face or online.