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Why these 10 countries are the world's happiest

Last updated on: June 28, 2012 11:33 IST

Why these 10 countries are the world's happiest

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The popular Abba single, "Money, money, money...must be funny in a rich man's world" seems true for people from these countries. At least that is what one can deduce from New Economics Foundation's Happy Planet Index (HPI).

The latest HPI results show how these countries produce long, happy and sustainable lives for their people. The overall index scores rates countries based on their efficiency, how many long and happy lives each produces per unit of environmental output.

Each of the three component measures – life expectancy, experienced well-being and ecological footprint. Also, the overall ranking is not based on GNP and growth figures, but purely on environmental factors.

Thus, NEF's list of happiest countries does not feature the usual suspects.

Source: Happy Planet Index

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Photographs: Reuters

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Costa Rica

Ranking: 1

Happy Planet Index score: 60.4

2009 HPI Rank: 5

Experienced Well-Being: 5.8

Life Expectancy: 75.2

Ecological Footprint: 1.4

GDP Per Capita: $3,205

Population: 86.9 million

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Image: A boy jumps into the Llanos del Cortes waterfall in Bagaces, Costa Rica
Photographs: Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters
Tags: , GDP , HPI , Costa Rica

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Vietnam

Ranking: 2

Happy Planet Index score: 60.4

2009 HPI Rank: 5

Experienced Well-Being: 5.8

Life Expectancy: 75.2

Ecological Footprint: 1.4

GDP Per Capita: $3,205

Population: 86.9 million

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Image: A Hmong woman displays traditional costumes for sale at the Vietnamese cultural village of Dong Mo, outside Hanoi
Photographs: Kham/Reuters
Tags: , GDP , HPI , Vietnam

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Colombia

Ranking: 3

Happy Planet Index score: 59.8

2009 HPI Rank: 6

Experienced Well-Being: 6.4

Life Expectancy: 73.7

Ecological Footprint: 1.8

GDP Per Capita: $9,453

Population: 46.3 million

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Image: Flamingos fly over a reserve near the town of Manaure, Guajira province, Colombia
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: , GDP , HPI , Colombia

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Belize

Ranking: 4

Happy Planet Index score: 59.3

2009 HPI Rank: 27

Experienced Well-Being: 6.5

Life Expectancy: 76.1

Ecological Footprint: 2.1

GDP Per Capita: $6,670

Population: 345,000

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Image: Britain's Prince Harry dances at a street party in Belmopan, Belize
Photographs: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
Tags: , GDP , HPI

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El Salvador

Ranking: 5

Happy Planet Index score: 58.9

2009 HPI Rank: 8

Experienced Well-Being: 6.7

Life Expectancy: 72.2

Ecological Footprint: 2

GDP Per Capita: $6,668

Population: 6.2 million

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Photographs: Reuters
Tags: , GDP , HPI

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Jamaica

Ranking: 6

Happy Planet Index score: 58.5

2009 HPI Rank: 3

Experienced Well-Being: 6.2

Life Expectancy: 73.1

Ecological Footprint: 1.7

GDP Per Capita: $7,673

Population: 2.7 million

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Image: A Jamaican child plays at Hellshire beach in Kingston
Photographs: Daniel Aguilar/Reuters
Tags: , GDP , HPI , Jamaica

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Panama

Ranking: 7

Happy Planet Index score: 57.8

2009 HPI Rank: 18

Experienced Well-Being: 7.3

Life Expectancy: 76.1

Ecological Footprint: 3

GDP Per Capita: $13,608

Population: 3.5 million

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Photographs: Alberto Lowe/Reuters
Tags: , GDP , HPI , Panama

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Nicaragua

Ranking: 8

Happy Planet Index score: 57.1

2009 HPI Rank: 11

Experienced Well-Being: 5.7

Life Expectancy: 74

Ecological Footprint: 1.6

GDP Per Capita: $2,913

Population: 5.8 million

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Image: Managua's Tiscapa Lagoon in Nicaragua
Photographs: Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters
Tags: , GDP , HPI

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Venezuela

Ranking: 9

Happy Planet Index score: 56.9

2009 HPI Rank: 36

Experienced Well-Being: 7.5

Life Expectancy: 74.4

Ecological Footprint: 3.0

GDP Per Capita: $12,233

Population: 28.8 million

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Image: Venezuelan soccer fans
Photographs: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Tags: , GDP , HPI , Venezuela

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Guatemala

Ranking: 10

Happy Planet Index score: 56.9

2009 HPI Rank: 4

Experienced Well-Being: 6.3

Life Expectancy: 71.2

Ecological Footprint: 1.8

GDP Per Capita: $4,785

Population: 14.4 million


Image: Calle Santander tourist street in Panajachel, Guatemala
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons
Tags: GDP , HPI , Guatemala

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