Financial Times

Smiling Lanka 22nd happiest place to be

By Dilshani Samaraweera

An international ranking on quality of life, says Sri Lanka is a happier place to live in than many richer countries. Nearly 30 years of war, rampant corruption and dysfunctional social institutions aside, the ‘Happy Planet Index (HPI) 2’, ranked Sri Lanka at 22nd place out of 143 countries.

This puts Sri Lanka ahead of many developed countries. For instance, the US, despite being the biggest economy in the world, is not seen as a happy place to live in, ranking at 114 out of 143. However, Sri Lanka’s happiness comes from good life expectancy and a low eco-foot print. Sri Lanka scored poorly on life satisfaction, says the HPI report.

The HPI is computed by a Non Governmental Organisation called the New Economics Foundation (NEF), based in the UK. It uses three measures, called ‘high life satisfaction,’ ‘high life expectancy’ and ‘one-planet living,’ to rank countries. The intention, sys NEF, is to show the ‘ecological efficiency’ in which countries provide quality lives for people.

This year, another middle income, developing country, Costa Rica, beat richer countries to become the happiest place on the planet. In fact, Latinos and Caribbeans’ seem to have the best of life. The developing country block of Latin American and Caribbean countries, scored the highest mean regional HPI score. The least happy place to be in, is the sub-Saharan African countries with Zimbabwe at 143.
Rich, developed nations fall somewhere in the middle.

The Netherlands ranked at 43, the UK at 74, behind Germany, Italy and France and Switzerland at 52. Even Singapore is only at 49.

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