Cape Town — A London-based think tank has placed Costa Rica at the top of its "Happy Planet Index" for the third time.
This does not mean that Costa Rica is home to the world's cheeriest people, but rather that the Central American country has reached a balance where its citizens lead relatively long and satisfied lives without an outsized impact on the planet.
South Africa, according to the index, has a Happy Planet Index of 15.9, and ranks 128th of all 140 countries analysed. The survey found that the average life expectancy of Saffas is only 56.3 years, and the overall well-being of people living in Mzansi averages at 5.1 out of 10.
Check out SA's stats here:
Happy Planet Index's formula divides measures of well-being by each country's ecological footprint, none of the world's most developed countries figure in the top 10.
Costa Rica is trailed by Mexico and Colombia in this year's ranking. The tiny south Pacific island nation of Vanuatu and Vietnam round out the top 5.
The index takes a different approach to measuring national well-being. Rather than emphasizing production, which can have a greater impact on the environment, it seeks to reward sustainability.
For example, Bangladesh, which ranks eighth this year, has a significantly lower measure of happiness than others in the top 10, but it is so underdeveloped that its ecological footprint is minimal, producing a high score on the Happy Planet Index.
The index is published by the New Economics Foundation, which says it promotes social justice.
The World Happiness Report for 2016, an unrelated survey from the Happy Planet Index, was also recently released. In this report, South Africa ranked in 116th out of 157 countries. To worsen matters, you don't even want to KNOW where SA ranks on Bloomberg’s and Cato Misery Indexes for this year...
Despite SA's low rankings in all these 'happiness' and 'miserable' reports, South African's will know that this is the best place in the world to live.
I mean, what's not to love about this incredible southernmost point of Africa!?
What to read next on Traveller24:
- The World's friendliest (and unfriendliest) cities revealed.. But wait, where's SA?!