General Health

The Happiest Place on Earth

If there were a magical formula for determining the happiest country on the planet, a lot of people would be packing their suitcases.

Unfortunately, a formula like this does not exist, and despite the enormous effort that goes into number crunching and gathering opinions in order to rank every country on its happiness levels, the country that ranks No.1 on one list could rank No. 110 on the next. While making these lists could seem like a waste of time, it’s interesting to look at what these happiness indexes are taking into consideration while they try to find “the happiest country on earth.”

According to a new happiness index, the Happy Planet Index, conducted by the New Economics Foundation, a country’s environmental sustainability, combined with its population’s experienced well-being and life expectancy, are the most important factors in determining overall happiness.

Countries that rank well, according to this index, are supporting their inhabitants to live good lives now, while ensuring others can do the same in the future. The index produces rankings that stray from typical happiness indexes because high-income countries are brought down by large ecological footprints.

Which country took the coveted No.1 spot?

Costa Rica.

With miles of dazzling beaches, rainforests and volcanoes, it is not hard to believe the Caribbean paradise  would receive a score of 64 points on a happiness index that takes eco-friendliness into consideration. In comparison, the US received a score of 37.3 and ranked 105 out of 151 countries. Denmark, which continuously tops lists of the world’s happiest countries ranked No. 110.

The Numbers

Costa Rica scored a 7.3 for well-being, 79.3 for life expectancy and 2.5 for eco-friendliness.

The US scored a 7.2 for well-being, 78.5 for life expectancy and a poor 7.2 for eco-friendliness.

According to the World Bank’s most recent data, Costa Rica is an upper middle-income country, with a GDP of $41.01 billion, and 24.2% of its population living below the poverty line.

The US is a high-income country, with a GDP of $15.09 trillion and 15% living below the poverty line.

The point of this is that there is no set in stone way of measuring, or ranking happiness.

Is money most important? Our own opinions of our well-being? Our health? Or could it be making our countries sustainable for our children?
Feel free to sound off on this in the comments section!

By Juliana LaBianca

Photo Source: