What Is Happy Planet Index (HPI)?

The Happy Planet Index, or HPI, is a measure of human well-being and environmental impact that was introduced in 2006 by the New Economics Foundation. The index is measured by giving higher scores to countries with lower ecological footprints. The HPI is important as it puts our current and future well-being in the limelight as an important issue.

Happy Planet Index (HPI)
Happy Planet Index (HPI)

It gives each country a frame of development for real environmental limits and helps us all to preserve the earth that we live on. It focus’ on progress being an environmental and social movement, rather than being about wealth. The HPI aims to produce happy and healthy lives for everyone now and in the future, by reducing poverty and deprivation. It suggests that the Western way of big business development is not sustainable in the long term and that we need to find other solutions.


How And What Does The Happy Planet Index Measure?

The HPI is measured by using global data on life expectancy, well-being and a nation’s ecological footprint using the HPI survey. Well-being is measured by a question that is listed on a special Gallup poll called “Ladder of Life”. In the question, the responder is asked to report on a 0 – 10 scale – 0 being the worst possible life and 10 being the best possible life. Life expectancy is taken from the UNDP Human Development Report. Life expectancy is a universally acceptable measure of overall health. Ecological footprint is a per capita measure of the amount of land that a nation requires to sustain its consumption. HPI is rated on a scale of 0 – 100 and there is currently a target set at 89 for all nations. The current results indicate that we are currently still not living on a happy planet and that no country is able to combine the success of all three measures: life expectancy, well-being and ecological footprint.

What Are The Happiest Parts of The World?

The top ten highest scoring and happiest countries in the world are (in alphabetical order): Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela and Vietnam. These countries made the top due to scoring higher on life expectancy and environmental impact, meaning that these are the most sustainable countries, even though they suffer through high levels of poverty. The lowest 10 scoring countries in the world are: Bahrain, Botswana, Chad, Central African Republic, Kuwait, Mali, Mongolia, Niger, South Africa and Qatar. While these countries are probably all expected to have higher rankings however their environmental footprint lets them down immensely.

More About Happy Planet Index

You can get more information about HPI at the official Happy Planet Index site: www.happyplanetindex.org.