From the New Economics Foundation comes the latest edition of the Happy Planet Index, a rating of the earth’s nation’s based on four criteria:
- Wellbeing: How satisfied the residents of each country feel with life overall, on a scale from zero to ten, based on data collected as part of the Gallup World Poll.
- Life expectancy: The average number of years a person is expected to live in each country based on data collected by the United Nations.
- Inequality of outcomes: The inequalities between people within a country in terms of how long they live, and how happy they feel, based on the distribution in each country’s life expectancy and wellbeing data.
- Ecological Footprint: The average impact that each resident of a country places on the environment, based on data prepared by the Global Footprint Network.
Under those criteria, happiness scores reflect far more than self-perceived satisfaction, so a country like the U.S. which has relatively high scores on three measures comes in at 108th place because of the country’s devastating ecological impacts.
Of the world’s happiest countries, the top three are in Latin America: Costa Rica, Mexico, and Colombia. The bottom place belongs to Chad.