Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Planet Index 2009: Philippines, ranked 14th happiest place in the world

Happy Planet Index 2009: Philippines, ranked 14th happiest place in the world. The Philippines ranked as the 14th happiest place in the world but reported a low life satisfaction rating, according to the 2009 Happy Planet Index (HPI) published by the New Economics Foundation, an independent think tank.

The HPI measures happiness according to a country's average life expectancy, quality of life data, and environmental track record. A total of 143 countries were scored from 0 to 100 based on three index targets: high life expectancy, high life satisfaction, and a low ecological footprint.

A low ecological footprint is defined as the country's fair share of the world's natural resources, which must not exceed 2.1 global hectares (gha).

Life satisfaction, meanwhile, is measured under the World Database of Happiness, which determines how residents of a particular country are satisfied with "their life as a whole these days, all things considered."

The Philippines scored better than its neighboring countries like China (20th), Indonesia (16th), and Malaysia (33rd). It is also the only Asian country that ranked in the survey's top 20 happiest countries, besides Vietnam (5th). Previously, the Philippines ranked 17th on the 2006 HPI. The Philippines scored 59.0 out of 100 on the happiness index, based on the country's relatively high life expectancy (71.0) and good ecological footprint (0.9 global hectares).

However, the country scored poorly on life satisfaction (5.5) - the same life satisfaction rating reported by countries like Albania (54th), Macedonia (111th), and Bulgaria (82nd).

'Happiest place in the world' Meanwhile, the "happiest place in the world," according to the HPI, is Costa Rica, which reported the highest life satisfaction rating in the world (8.5) and the second highest average life expectancy in the region (78.5). This boosted its HPI score, despite its poor ecological footprint (2.3 gha). The least happiest place in the world is Zimbabwe, which scored 16.6 out of 100 on the index. There was also a marked absence of first world countries on the HPI's Top 10 happiest countries, with more Latin American and Caribbean countries scoring higher on the index. The 2nd happiest place in the world is the Dominican Republic, followed by Jamaica, Guatemala, Vietnam, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Brazil (the only G20 country to rank high), and Honduras. Although many poor countries performed well on the happiness index, the HPI report noted that the world is still far from achieving happiness, sustainable living and ecological efficiency.

Photo courtesy of the New Economics Foundation

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