The UK-based New Economics Foundation published the Happy Planet Index (HPI) 2009 on July 4 with Costa Rica winning the title as the happiest and most environmentally friendly country, according to a report by Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po. Latin American countries occupied nine of the top 10 positions on the list. Chinese mainland ranks 20th, and Hong Kong 84th. The US ranks 114th, with its HPI lower than Iraq and Iran.
Reporters learned that the HPI ranks 143 countries and regions of the world according to their citizen's life expectancy and satisfaction level, as well as per capita resource consumption. The worse environmental pollution is, the lower the ranking will be. Therefore, those ranking top are mostly small and medium sized countries.
Nine of the top 10 countries are in Latin America. Of them, Costa Rica took the first position with its citizen's life satisfaction level reaching 8.5 out of 10 points, reflecting that 85 percent of its population is satisfied with their lives. Costa Rica's HPI totals 76.1, far ahead of Dominican Republic in second place. Vietnam ranks fifth, the only non-Latin American country in the top 10.
According to the report, member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have become even worse than the 1960s. Although there have been improvements in terms of life expectancy and happiness, growth rates in these aspects lag far behind the increase in their overuse of natural resources. The overall scores for the US, Chinese mainland and India are lower than two decades ago.
In addition, impoverished African countries such as Zimbabwe (ranking 143rd) and Tanzania (ranking 142nd) took the last positions because their indicators for life expectancy and satisfaction level were outperformed by other developing and developed countries.
By People's Daily Online