Can you guess where each of these countries fit in the happiness scale? Click below to find out!



What makes you happy? We want to know!
Please share this Infographic to get everybody thinking about happiness around the world.

What’s this Interactive Visual all about, then? Well, if you’ve already explored your way around the Long Lives and Happy Hearts Infographic, you will have noticed how these five countries stack-up in terms of Happiness, Life Expectancy and Wellbeing. If you click on the actual country icons, you’ll also find some fun facts that provide clues as to what may account for these scores.

Read more about what you’ll find inside the Infographic, and how the HPI (Happy Planet Index) works by clicking below!

Cheers To A Long Life

The secrets to a long and healthy life have always been a hotly debated topic. While modern medicine tells us there are certain actions you can take to ensure that your body and mind are in tip-top condition, such as consuming a nutritious diet and exercising regularly, the truth is that there are no guarantees.

However, it looks like the Okinawan people are certainly doing something right – they regularly live well into their 90s and beyond! Japanese citizens in general boast very long lives, which is undoubtedly due to the healthy staples that make up their everyday diet.

Meanwhile, Australia isn’t too far behind Japan when it comes to longevity. As a country, it reports a cool 81.9% on the life expectancy scale, ranking it in fifth place out of 151 countries.

The Path To Wellness

The experienced wellbeing of a country has a great deal to do with how that country manages to provide its citizens with lifestyle conditions that are conducive to a balanced, healthy and enjoyable life. Australia ranks very highly in this regard, which isn’t surprising considering the positive ideals that comprise Australian culture: freedom, friendliness, hard work, and acceptance.

Similarly, France reports a high ranking when it comes to wellbeing. Their love of and reverence for fine foods, as well as their high artistic output, clearly make France a very desirable home for all creative minds and gourmet food-lovers.

If You're Happy And You KNow It...

Happiness means different things to different people, of course. However, it’s interesting to see how various countries around the world stack up when it comes to their overall happiness, which is calculated by the HPI index according to three main areas: wellbeing, longevity, and ecological footprint.

The United States has a fairly low happiness ranking, which may have something to do with the rising healthcare costs and increasing rates of divorce across the country. Meanwhile, Costa Rica’s emphasis on free education and their simple but delicious diet, as well as their environmental know-how, nabs them the top spot in the happiness category.

What Is The HPI Index?

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) was the brainchild of the New Economics Foundation (NEF), a liberal British think-tank, and it was first introduced in July 2006. The purpose of the index is to measure the most important or desirable factors in life, as defined by the NEF – namely, the degree to which 151 countries around the world can deliver long, happy and sustainable lives to the people that live in them. In this way, the HPI doesn’t necessarily measure happiness itself; that would, quite frankly, be impossible! Instead, the index aims to ascertain the environmental efficiency of supporting wellbeing across different countries.

In the larger scheme of things, the main focus of the HPI is on progress. Each year’s results emphasize the importance of sustainable wellbeing the world over. In doing so, the index comprises a powerful attempt to shed light on how we can continue to build longer, happier and more environmentally-efficient lives together, for the good of present and future generations.

How Does It Work? Take A Closer Look

You might be confused as to how the HPI actually works, but in actuality, it’s a fairly straightforward process. The index uses global data to determine each country’s life expectancy, experienced wellbeing, and ecological footprint, utilising these three factors in an equation to determine a given country’s HPI:

HPI = (Experienced wellbeing x Life expectancy) / Ecological footprint

  • Experienced wellbeing: As the HPI website states, the best way to find out how well someone’s life is going is usually just to ask them. Therefore, the experienced wellbeing of different countries is simply calculated by asking citizens to report how happy their life is on a numerical scale, with 0 representing the worst possible life and 10 representing the best possible life. Clearly, a country’s living conditions has a significant impact on how happy its citizens are, so it’s not surprising to see third world countries such as Chad and Mali rounding out the bottom of the index. On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that the United States of America, which has always been widely considered the global superpower, ranks in the lowest fifty countries in terms of experienced wellbeing.
  • Life expectancy: Having good health is often crucial when it comes to leading a happy and fulfilled life, so the HPI measures health by utilising data from the annual United Nations Human Development Programme Report. The country with the highest life expectancy in the world is Japan, and the island of Okinawa in particular has long since renowned as the home of some of the longest living citizens in recent history. The Okinawan longevity has previously been attributed to the famously healthy Japanese diet, which mainly comprises of rice, vegetables, fish and natural soy products. Another important factor which has been highlighted as relevant to their excellent health is hara hachi bu, the Okinawan cultural dictum which emphasizes that people should only eat until they are 80% full.
  • Ecological footprint: As promoted by the environmental charity WWF, the HPI’s ecological footprint measures which countries are burning through the world’s natural resources at a faster and larger rate than other nations. This is carried out through a per capita measure, which calculates the amount of land required to sustain a given country’s consumption patterns. For instance, Costa Rica, which is the first ranking country in terms of overall HPI, also ranks impressively in terms of its ecological footprint. This is because the country has one of the highest biodiversities in the world, despite only taking up a tiny portion of the planet’s surface – 0.3%, to be exact.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

The unfortunate truth is that there’s no way to guarantee absolute health and happiness, as much as we might wish otherwise. However, if you’re wondering how you can learn to be as happy as the people of Costa Rica and as healthy as the Japanese, we’ve got a few handy tips to help you on your way.

  • Happiness isn’t necessarily a state of being – it’s a state of mind. By choosing to be more optimistic and to have a positive outlook, you can actively become a happier, more content and fulfilled person.
  • Being a well-rounded individual will improve your overall wellbeing. This means that it’s importance to have balance in all aspects of your life – to work hard and play hard, to socialise with friends and family and to have time to yourself, to become involved in activities and hobbies that interest and motivate you.
  • Cultivate healthy habits in all aspects of life. Engage in physical exercise that you enjoy, eat a wide variety of healthy and nutritious foods, spend time alone with your thoughts and feelings, lean on your loved ones for support if you’re going through a rough time. Having a rested mind and a strong body is key to boosting your longevity and getting the most out of life.
  • Do your bit for the planet by adopting a greener, cleaner lifestyle. Take shorter showers, ride your bike to work instead of driving, recycle your old clothing and possessions by donating them, use your washing line instead of the tumble dryer, and limit the time you spend on the computer or watching television. Remember that every little bit helps!

The Goal: Long, Happy, Healthy Lives

How happy are you in your home country? Do you live somewhere that is ecologically friendly? Can you estimate your own life expectancy, based on that of your country’s? Don’t forget to share the results with all your friends, family and acquaintances. You might find that some of the numbers surprise you!

So, what are you waiting for?

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