A newly released map of the world features color-coded countries, meant to indicate where in the world people are living the happiest and most sustainable lives.
As the Daily Mail reports, some of the findings are rather surprising.
The map was created by the popular moving-resource website, MoveHub, using data from the Happy Planet Index, or HPI. The map indicates that Costa Rica, Vietnam and Colombia are among the happiest nations in the world — they are shaded with green hues.
Wealthier countries like the United States, however, rank surprisingly low and are shaded in the less-happy red hues.
Middle of the road countries carry yellow or amber color codes.
The reason for the somewhat surprising results is simple, according to MoveHub. The site’s explanation of the map says that the HPI discards the old notion that happiness is a function of wealth.
Instead, the site explains, happiness is about “living long lives with a high experience of well-being within the environmental limits of the planet.”
To measure that, the HPI scored the countries on three scales.
The first was “experienced well-being” in which respondents to polls were asked to place themselves on a “ladder of life” with 0 being the bottom rung and 10 being the top.
Next in the study came life expectancy by nation. The HPI used data from the 2011 United Nations Human Development Report for its rankings.
The final criterion used was the ecological footprint of each country, as determined by the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF. The information from the WWF was used to score how likely it was that a country could maintain its citizens’ happiness without support from the outside world — in essence, measuring the country’s consumption of outside resources.
But, as MoveHub points out, the map does not indicate or take into account human rights issues or internal equality measures for each country. That means countries with reported, ongoing human rights concerns like Saudi Arabia or Iraq, score relatively high.