The Happy Planet Index (HPI) measures the capacity of a nation to improve its citizens’ wellbeing and, therefore, the power that each country possesses to influence its inhabitants’ happiness.
In 2010, Costa Rica was ranked as the happiest country in the world, according to a report on citizen happiness and life satisfaction, as ranked by the British New Economics Foundation. The organization studied the 143 countries that account for 99% of the planet’s population.
The HPI evaluates three variables:
- Life expectancy at birth
- Citizens’ reported level of satisfaction
- Ecological footprint – the relationship between natural resources available and what is consumed
“In Costa Rica, the life expectancy is 78.5 years, and 85% of the inhabitants stated they felt happy and satisfied with their life, this country being very close to finding a balance between consumption and natural resources,” explained Nic Mars, one of the report’s authors. “Ticos gave an average grade of 8.5 to the country in which they live, and a 9.2 rating for their life, the second highest in the study.”