The latest rankings of the Happy Planet Index (HPI) have been revealed today to rank countries by how efficiently they are creating long, happy lives using our limited environmental resources.
It measures ‘efficiency’, using three indicators:
However, there has been a decline in wellbeing in several countries in South America, including Brazil.
The full Happy Planet Index rankings are available to view at www.happyplanetindex.org.
Explore the interactive website: make comparisons between countries and regions and view trends over time, from 2006 to 2020. You can also download the data to make your own analyses!
There is also a new ‘Personal Happy Planet Index’ test to help users see what country they are most like based on their own lifestyles – and to reflect on how they can create their own “good life that doesn’t cost the Earth.
Unlike other indices, such as the Quality of Life Index or World Happiness Report, the Happy Planet Index does not rank countries in terms of quality of life or happiness. Instead, it looks at which countries are best at using minimal ‘inputs’ of natural resources to create the maximum possible ‘outputs’ of long, happy lives – thus delivering truly “sustainable wellbeing”.
Rankings serve as a compass pointing in the overall direction in which societies should be travelling – towards higher wellbeing lifestyles with lower ecological footprints.
The Happy Planet Index does not consider societies truly successful if they deliver “good lives” which use more resources than the earth can support OR if they consume within the Earth’s limits, but have very low levels of wellbeing or life expectancy.
It’s worth noting that human rights abuses are a problem in most of the world, including in some of the high-ranking countries in the Happy Planet Index results. While the HPI may reflect some of the negative impacts of human rights abuses and inequality, it does not seek to directly measure this. Many countries may do well on the Happy Planet Index rankings despite their political systems, rather than because of them.
The Happy Planet Index turns the old world order on its head by highlighting how high-income 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.
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.
Many nations achieve green lights in each of the individual components of the Happy Planet Index – meaning that these targets are genuinely attainable.
Overall, the Happy Planet Index shows that we are still far from achieving sustainable wellbeing: only a third of nations (representing 38% of the global population) consume within environmental limits and no country scores successfully across the three goals of high life expectancy for all, high experienced wellbeing for all, and living within environmental limits.
Still, the Happy Planet Index rankings highlight many success stories that demonstrate the possibility of living good lives without costing the Earth – and we’re making progress towards this goal.
Data from 2020 shows that despite the largest pandemic in living memory and a complete re-organisation of the world economy, people’s wellbeing had, at least in 2020, on average, remained surprisingly stable.
This demonstrates that our wellbeing is not inevitably linked to the fast-paced economic system that we have become used to – and suggests that it is possible to sustain good lives with a lower impact on the Earth.
To effectively address the climate crisis, positive changes we see on the Happy Planet Index need to be much more rapid. To do that, we need to rethink how our global economic system is designed. All signs point to a Wellbeing Economy.
Use our promotion pack to start the conversation:
“How can we live good lives that don’t cost the Earth?”
For further information or to speak to the founder of the Happy Planet Index, Nic Marks, please contact: email@example.com
We've built a personal Happy Planet Index test to help you reflect on how you can create your own "good life that doesn't cost the earth".Take the test