Press Release – UK

press • Published October, 2021

New Data: UK ranks 14th on the Happy Planet Index to become highest scoring G7 country 

Leading Global Measure of Sustainable Wellbeing Shows Good Lives Don’t Have to Cost The Earth

  • New rankings from the Happy Planet Index launching 25th October
  • UK is ranked 14th place on the Happy Planet Index out of 152 countries – rising 2 places since 2018.
  • The UK is now the highest scoring G7 country – The USA being the lowest ranking, at 122nd place. Successful steps taken to reduce ecological footprint by replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources.
  • The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is the leading global measure of sustainable wellbeing – Tracking data on wellbeing, life expectancy and sustainability.

LONDON, 25 OCT: The new Happy Planet Index (HPI) rankings have today been revealed to compare how well nations are creating human wellbeing using their limited ecological resources.

The UK landed at number 14 out of 152 countries, scoring highly for wellbeing and life expectancy. The UK ranking improved by two places since 2018 – largely as a result of successful steps to reduce ecological footprint by replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources – becoming the highest ranking G7 nation.

The Happy Planet Index turns the old world order on its head by highlighting how rich Western nations are often inefficient at creating wellbeing for their people. Costa Rica has again been ranked in first place for a fourth time due to its commitment to health, education and environmental protection. In contrast, the USA was placed as the lowest scoring G7 nation at 122nd place, ranking low on both wellbeing and ecological footprint.

The Happy Planet Index measures ‘efficiency’ using three indicators – wellbeing, life expectancy and ecological footprint. It was created by statistician Nic Marks, who said:

“Promoting human happiness doesn’t have to be at odds with creating a sustainable future. The HPI’s mantra is that good lives don’t have to cost the earth, and after 15 years of rankings, this feels more relevant and timely than ever.”

Countries that rank highly on the Happy Planet Index show that it is possible to live long, happy lives with a much smaller ecological footprint than found in the highest-consuming nations. 

The top 10 countries by Happy Planet Index score are as follows: 
  1. Costa Rica
  2. Vanuatu 
  3. Colombia 
  4. Switzerland 
  5. Ecuador 
  6. Panama 
  7. Jamaica 
  8. Guatemala 
  9. Honduras
  10. Uruguay 
Selected other countries:
  1.   New Zealand
  2.   United Kingdom
  3.   Germany
  4.   France
  5.   Ireland
  6.   Sweden
  7.   Australia
  8.   China
  9. USA

The full Happy Planet Index rankings are available to view at Users can also take their own personal test to see what country they are most like, and reflect on how they can create their own “good life that doesn’t cost the earth.”


Nic Marks is available for interview, comment and articles to discuss the new data. 

For further information or to speak to the founder of the Happy Planet Index, Nic Marks, please contact:

Natalie Connors –

About The Happy Planet Index: HPI is the leading global measure of sustainable wellbeing, ranking countries by how efficiently they deliver long, happy lives using our limited environmental resources. The HPI was created by Nic Marks, founder of NEF’s Centre for Wellbeing. His 2010 TED talk on the HPI has been watched over 2.5 million times. Nic is the founder of Friday Pulse, an online people platform which helps build happy teams.

This is the fifth edition of the Happy Planet index. It was first launched in 2006, with subsequent editions published in 2009, 2012, and 2016.

About The Wellbeing Economy Alliance: WEAll is the leading global coalition of organisations, alliances, movements, and individuals working together to transform the economic system. Our vision is that the global economy is transformed to create shared wellbeing for people and the planet and planet. Our mission is to nurture and promote the movement necessary to transform key economies and ensure that decision-makers prioritise the long-term wellbeing of people and planet. To learn more, please visit

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