Ever wonder where the happiest place on earth might be?
The HPI measures how much of the Earth’s resources a nation uses and how happy and fulfilled its citizens feel themselves to be.
Costa Ricans top the list because they report having the highest life satisfaction in the world. At the same time, they live longer than Americans yet have an ecological footprint that is less than a quarter the size.
The difference, says the report, shows that it is possible to live long, happy lives without the tremendous burden on the world’s resources found in the world’s highest-consuming nations.
The new HPI also provides analysis of trends over time for the world’s most developed nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Combined life satisfaction and longevity increased 15% over the 45-year period for those living in the rich nations, but according to the New Economics Foundation it has come at the cost of a 72% rise in their ecological footprint.
And the three largest countries in the world—China, India and the US, all with aggressive growth-based development models—have all seen their HPI scores drop in that time.
International Living has been covering Costa Rica as a great retirement haven for many years, thanks to its eco-conscious policies, lack of standing army, relatively low cost of living and world-class health care system. The country is a favorite with retirees and second-home buyers from the U.S. and Canada, and is also a hotspot for medical tourism. Last month, International Living named Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula as one of the healthiest places on earth to live in its Health Index.
But as revealed in the HPI Index, it’s the lifestyle that people who move to Costa Rica are seeking. IL reader Janet Grosshandler has just returned from living part-time in Playa Grande, on the Pacific Northwest coast…and she can’t wait to go back. “Tiny cafés line the street, for a quick snack or hearty meal. ‘Hola’ is on everyone’s lips as they pass you strolling to catch some waves. Friendly ‘coconut men’ slice open the ice-cold pods, stick a straw in, and offer this tasty, nutritious coconut milk to drink and its firm flesh to eat—for a dollar! I am sucked wholeheartedly into its spell,” Janet says. You can read her article here.