World’s happiest places: RP ranks 14th

Published by rudy Date posted on July 6, 2009

The Philippines is teh 14th happiest place on earth, according to a survey by a British non-governmental group.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF)’s measurements found that Filipinos have a life expectancy of 71 years and 55 percent of country’s citizens are satisfied with their lives.

The NFE looked at 143 countries that are home to 99 percent of the world’s population and devised an equation that weighed life expectancy and people’s happiness against their environmental impact.

By that formula, Costa Rica is the happiest place on earth and the greenest country in the world, just ahead of the Dominican Republic.

Costa Ricans have a life expectancy of 78.5 years, and 85 percent of the country’s residents say they are happy and satisfied with their lives.

Those figues, taken along with the fact that Costa Rica has a small “ecological footprint,” combined to push the small nation to the top of the list.

Residents of Dominican Republic, meantime, have 71.5 years of life expectancy and 76 percent of the population said they are happy with their lives.

Latin American countries did well in the survey.

On the third slot is Jamaica followed by Guatemala, Vietnam, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Brazil and Honduras.

Australia landed at 102nd, Britain at 74th and the United States at 114th.

At the bottom of the list is Zimbabwe (rank 143rd) with its people having a life expectancy of 40.9 years.

Twenty-eight percent of the country’s residents say they are happy and satisfied with their lives.

Before Zimbabwe were Namibia (rank 104th), Botswana (141st) and Tanzania (142nd).

A 2006 New Economics Foundation study designated Vanuatu the world’s happiest nation, with Costa Rica at second place.

Sociologist Andrea Fonseca said Costa Rica gives its citizens the “tools” to be happy, but cautioned that happiness cannot be calculated by just looking at life expectancy and environmental practices.

She added that the country’r rise to the top of the Happy Planet Index “has a lot to do with social imagination.”

Costa Rica has a peaceful reputation because it does not have an army, and is also known for its protected econological zones and national slogan “pure life,” she said.

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) provides the compass that societies globally need to set them on the path of real progress.

The compass is determined by measuring what truly matters to the people – their well-being in terms of long, happy and meaningful lives and what matters to the planet, the rate of resource consumption. –AFP

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