Green Guide

Happy Planet Index shows Costa Rica as the happiest and greenest nation


A study conducted by the New Economics Foundation using the Happy Planet Index determined that Costa Rica is the greenest and the happiest place in the world. The HPI measures happiness by considering three variables: happiness, ecological footprints and life expectancy. According to the survey the top 10 positions are dominated by Latin American countries, whereas African countries lie at the bottom of the list. The first calculation was performed in 2006, and the second version measures happiness for almost all the countries in the world.


Happy Planet Index

The Happy Planet Index measures how much of the earth’s resources countries use and how long and happy lives their inhabitants lead. The measure of happiness is calculated according to a country’s quality of life data, ecological footprint record and average life expectancy.

New Economics Foundation performed a survey for 143 countries. The countries were scored from 0 to 100 based on three key objectives: high life expectancy, high life satisfaction and a low ecological footprint. Life satisfaction is calculated under the World Database of Happiness, which determines how citizens of a particular nation are satisfied with their life as a whole these days. A low ecological footprint is defined as the country’s fair share of the world’s natural resources, which must not exceed 2.1 global hectares (gha).

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Costa Rica is the happiest country

A report released by New Economics Foundation ranks Costa Rica in first place. The reason why it is considered the greenest and the happiest country is that it reports the highest life satisfaction in the world and has the second highest average life expectancy. The country has an ecological footprint that is less than a quarter in size. The country fails narrowly to achieve the goal of consuming its fair share of the earth’s natural resources.

Other countries that meet up the HPI measure

The country that stands on the second place in the list is the Dominican Republic, scoring 71.8 out of 100 on the happiness index, based on the country’s high life expectancy (71.5), superior life satisfaction (7.6) and good ecological footprint (1.5).
The Dominican Republic is followed by Jamaica, which scores 70.1 on the happiness index. Next on the list is Guatemala, with a total of 70.1 on the happiness index. Taking a fair 68.4 to its credit is Vietnam, standing in the fifth position.

The study clearly depicts that most of the developed nations lag way behind. While Britain was spotted 74th on the list, the United States snagged the 114th position. The major reason behind its failure in attaining such a low score is its heavy consumption and massive ecological footprints. The report also suggests that the United States was greener and happier 20 years ago than it is now. Other heavily populated nations, such as China and India, had a lower index, which is the result of their vigorous pursuit of growth-based models.

Although the happiness index witnessed many poor countries performing quite well, the HPI report distinguished that the world is still far from achieving happiness, sustainable living and ecological efficiency. The report suggest that many countries around the world are still generally “unhappy” because of evident socio-economic discrimination, environmental deprivation, poverty, war and a speedy exhaustion of natural resources.

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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