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Mexicans happier than Europeans and Americans

17 July 2009 One Comment

Happy Planet Index

For a very long time the only measure used to compare one country with the next was their GDP (Gross Domestic Product). But we all know how inaccurate and incomplete this figure can be when it comes to showing the reality of our times.

An independent think-and-do tank called nef (new economics foundation) came up with exactly what society needs: a new way to measure what truly matters to humanity and to the planet. This new compass is the Happy Planet Index (HPI), and its latest rankings were released earlier this month.

HPI determines which countries are closest to achieving sustainable well-being by incorporating three separate indicators:

  • ecological footprint,
  • life satisfaction and
  • life expectancy.

Based on the results, the highest HPI score of the 143 countries monitored this year was achieved by Costa Rica and the lowest by Zimbabwe.

Most European countries are somewhere in the middle of the list. For example, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden rank 51, 52 and 53 respectively. The UK is number 74.

The USA is somewhere closer to the bottom of the list than one would expect at 114, between Madagascar and Nigeria.

Mexico, at number 23, is in the top tier together with most Latin American countries. It is interesting to note that Mexico scores very high on average years of happy life, which is based on the life satisfaction and life expectancy figures. Also, Mexico’s HPI over time shows it getting high scores year after year.

By scoring well, Mexico as a nation is succeeding where many other countries are failing: Mexicans are living long, happy lives without over-stretching the planet’s resources.

So here is some food for thought: if Mexicans are living long happy lives, why do we complain so much?

You can read more about The Happy Planet Index 2.0 and nef here.

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