Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world
Did you know that Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction worldwide? Costa Rica scored #1 out of 140 nations in 2009 and 2012.
The Happy Planet Index is a measure that shows the ecological efficiency with which human well-being is delivered around the world.
It is the first-ever index to combine environmental impact with well-being. This is done to measure the environmental efficiency with which countries and their people live long and happy lives.
The second compilation of the global HPI, published in July 2009, shows that we are still far from achieving sustainable well-being and puts forward a vision of what we need to do to get there.
The Index doesn’t reveal the ‘happiest’ country in the world. It shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The nations that score well show that achieving, long, happy lives without over-stretching the planet’s resources is possible.
The HPI shows that around the world, high levels of resource consumption do not reliably produce high levels of well-being and that it is possible to produce high well-being without excessive consumption of the Earth’s resources. It also reveals that there are different routes to achieving comparable levels of well-being. The model followed by the West can provide widespread longevity and variable life satisfaction, but it does so only at a vast and ultimately counter-productive cost in terms of resource consumption.
The Happy Planet Index 2.0 reveals a surprising picture of the relative wealth and progress of nations.
Two important Facts
The second global ranking of well-being and environmental impact shows that:
- Costa Rica comes top of the Happy Planet Index 2.0. Costa Ricans report the highest life satisfaction in the world. They have the second-highest average life expectancy of the Americas. And they also have an ecological footprint that means that the country only narrowly fails to achieve the goal of ‘one-planet living’: consuming its fair share of the Earth’s natural resources.
- Latin America dominates the top of the index. Nine of the ten top-scoring nations on the Index are in Latin America. The highest-ranking G20 country in terms of HPI is Brazil, in 9th place out of 143 nations.
Analysis of HPI data
OECD nations’ HPI scores plummeted between 1960 and the late 1970s. There have been some gains since then. The HPI scores were still higher in 1961 than in 2005. Life satisfaction and life expectancy combined have increased 15 percent over the 45-year period. But it has come at an earth-shattering cost – an increase in ecological footprint per head of 72 percent.
Of a group of 36 major nations, it was possible to track overtime in detail. Around two-thirds increased their HPI scores are marginally between 1990 and 2005. But the three largest countries in the world China, India, and the USA. Those who are all aggressively pursuing growth-based development models have all seen their HPI scores drop at that time.
Of course, the highest life satisfaction of the population in Costa Rica shows in the use of the words Pura Vida.
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