Happy Planet Index List

How do we keep this site running? This post may contain affiliate links — the cost is the same to you, but we get a referral fee. Compensation does not affect rankings. Thanks!

World globeThe happy planet index, or HPI, is an index that determines a measure of happiness, per nation, based on environmental impact and well-being. What does it mean to be in the happy planet index? It doesn’t necessarily mean that the highest scoring country has the happiest people, or that by moving to that country you’ll be happy (that’s ultimately up to you). What it does show is how the efficiency with which a nation converts their share of the planet’s resources into longer and happier lives for their citizens.

What does the Happy Planet Index Tell Us?

The Happy Planet Index data show us that we still have a ways to go before achieving a sound level of happiness for the average nation. From the map, you’ll note that:

  • The United States, not surprisingly, has a ways to go to achieve happiness for the average citizen, as they are currently ranked in the worst category. Sad, considering the motto our founding fathers wanted us to live by – giving each of our citizens the ability for freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Central America has some of the highest happiness scores globally. Particularly high are Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

Developed Nation Does Not Necessarily Equal Happiness

Just because a nation prospers economically, doesn’t mean it will rank high on the happiness index. Think about all the stress a high paying job creates, and all the environmental waste that ensues from a prosperous, industrious nation, and you can begin to see how sometimes, simple is better. In some of the less developed nations that rank higher, such as Bosnia and Burma, you’ll notice that sometimes a simpler way of life can lead to greater happiness. Countries such as Vietnam and Laos, where farming and crop production are staples of industry, you’ll see people leading a life that, not short of hard labor, is not marked by as much psychological and emotional stress that you may find in the life of an investment banker, politician, neuro scientist, or other high intensity job typical to a first world country.

Live a Simple Life

Another way to think about it is where people typically go on vacation. The stereotypical, idyllic vacation destination is almost always somewhere in nature that is largely untouched by man – a quiet beach, tropical island, or lush jungle/ wilderness setting are on the top of the list. What does this say? In this crazy, fast-paced hectic and industrious life style that many of us Westerners lead, many seek peace, quietness, and nature. In other words, a more simple and laid back form of existence. The sad thing is, in a society that has been built on industry and technology, it’s hard to survive or make enough money to “fit in” to society and survive on the basis of simpler means. But here at Earth’s Friends, we’ll do our best to bring you insight and inspiration into living in harmony, and happiness, with nature and planet earth.

Alex loves nature and does his best to take care of the planet. He doesn't take for granted the serenity that can be found in the stillness of an ancient forest, or the majestic power of the ocean's large waves as they crash on an isolated island shoreline. He wants to raise awareness for how simple it can be to make a couple changes in your everyday life that can make a huge difference for the environment in the long term.

Leave a Reply

7 Comments on "Happy Planet Index List"

avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Anonymous
Anonymous

How interesting is this? Not surprisingly, the U.S. with their capital money mongering attitudes is not the happiest place on earth. At the same time, it appears that not even the “high lifestyle” cities in Europe (Zurich) or Canada (Vancouver) make the top of the happy pyramid.

Off to Central America I go! 🙂

Anonymous
Anonymous
What a novel idea – the Happy Planet Index! I had no idea this existed. I think it’s very interesting that Iraq is also in the “red” with us, and ironic that they have an even higher score than we do! I wasn’t able to find any fully “green” countries (ie. all 3 components good) on the Global HPI list (only “light green”). Are there any? I suppose I would have to take some time zooming in on the map to find them if they are. Also – is there any way to spot trends in the data? Ie. is… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
It is so true that people who go on vacation almost always want to get out into nature and away from the city and crowded places so they can be at peace. It is also true that people seem to be pretty happy in warmer climates, I have noticed. Although even in warm climate areas in the US, such as Southern California, there seems to be a lot of stress even though there is a lot of sunshine. What is the solution then? Clearly we cannot live in a world devoid of investment bankers, doctors, or neuro scientists, since each… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
I wonder how much of the happiness index depends on responsibility and education? Perhaps the stress that comes with being an advanced market naturally lowers responses to the happiness index regardless of circumstances, simply due to the nature of a developed nation. Look at it this way: when it comes to international trade, America and Europe are the cutting edge, so to speak (Japan is also up there with us). After we broke away from the gold standard, nations across the world started basing their currencies on the U.S. dollar. Even now, decisions made by banks and governments about the… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
It is disappointing that the United States rates so low on the happiness meter! There is, of course, a correlation to how much wealth the US has and how poorly we are able to convert these resources into happiness. Basically, because we have so much wealth, we are bombarded by advertisements that play on our emotions in order to entice us to buy products. The ads can appeal to our sense of responsibility, our desire to be beautiful, or our wish to be happy (ironically making us feel unhappy in the process). There are many other emotions that are exploited… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
Another thing to consider is that education often leads to understanding of the ecosystem; of the damage that manufacturing can do, of the cold depths of space, of carbon footprints, of the impact of marketing and entertainment on the masses…in fact, on a whole number of depressing and negative aspects of the world around us. Some people believe that education naturally leads to greater incidences of depression and angst because of this wider understanding. As The Princess Bride so famously states, “Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is trying to sell you something.” Harsh, but those jaded words ring… Read more »
Clover
Clover

Spotted your write – ups, it’s cool. Very beneficial and interesting there are some ideas I haven’t heard before. Thanks for sharing.

wpDiscuz

Send this to a friend