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Costa Rica Named ‘Happiest Country’

Dorathy Gass

Move over Disney, you may have some competition as it relates to the ‘happiest’ place on earth. The Happy Planet Index was recently released, naming Costa Rica the happiest, sustainable country around the globe.

MSN recently published in the New Economics Foundation, the report’s goal is to travel far from economic measures, as it relates to happiness, and closer to how much happiness is gathered from the environmental resources that a country has access to. That being said, it makes no wonder how the beautiful country of Costa Rica topped the list.

In all seriousness and more specifically speaking, the report calculated a nation’s happiness by measuring its life expectancy, overall well-being, as well as social inequality. Once that was established, the ecological footprint that the country left behind was divided by these above numbers.

Interestingly enough, many nations within Latin America topped the ‘happiest country’ list, while their neighbours to the west, didn’t fair as well. The United States of America hit the 108th spot; while the UK came in at 34.
With 99 percent of the country’s electricity being sources from renewable foundations, Costa Rica glided into first place, with the nation only using a small percentage of its resources, compared to the West. Additionally, in 1949, the country eradicated its army, using that money and placing it in programs that promoted education and health.

So, which country took second place? Despite the increased corruption and gang violence, Mexico, interestingly enough, took that spot. Colombia grabbed bronze on the list, with top scores when it came to eco-footprint, and happiness.

On the other end of the spectrum, the country of Chad hit last spot on the list; mostly due to the significant eco-footprint, thanks to the oil-production this nation puts out. Other factors that landed Chad last, include a weak infrastructure and increased rate of poverty. As per the United Nations, the life expectancy for Chad women is 52 years of age, and 49 years of age for the male counterparts.

Saamah Abdallah, New Economics Foundation, chimed in on the Happy Planet Index, and stated that the report offers a compass to help guide countries towards progress, and showcases the possibility of living positive lives, with placing an environmental cost to the earth. He goes on to state, that other countries can learn from these smaller, and at times, overlooked nations, who make a tremendous improvement with limited resources and their populations.