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An internally displaced boy, who fled a military offensive in the Swat valley region, holds a pot on his head while standing in line for a food handout at the UNHCR Yar Hussain camp in Swabi district, about 120 kilometres northwest of Islamabad, June 8, 2009. — Photo by Reuters/File

WASHINGTON, Oct 3: Pakistanis, in general, are happier about their lives than both Indians and Americans, says a survey released on Wednesday.

The Happy Planet Index 2012 ranks Pakistan 16th among 151 countries, ahead of both India and the United States ranked 32nd and 105th respectively.

The HPI measures human wellbeing and environmental impact of a country’s development to determine its rank. The index was introduced in July 2006 by a British NGO, the New Economics Foundation, which also has a branch in the United States.The HPI 2012 ranked Costa Rica as the happiest country in the world, followed by Vietnam and Colombia.

Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, ranked 69th in the world in 2011. In 2010, UNDP cited Costa Rica as one of the countries that have attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.

And in 2011, UNDP included it among good performers on environmental sustainability, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of their region. It was also the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability.

Costa Rica is ranked fifth in the world, and first among the Americas, in the 2012 Environmental Performance Index.

Costa Rica constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949. It is the only Latin American country among the world’s 22 older democracies.

The Happy Planet Index is calculated using life expectancy, wellbeing and ecological footprint of the countries with data collected from various sources including UNDP and Gallup.

The life expectancy and experienced wellbeing of Pakistan was found to be mediocre, but the ecological footprint was termed “good”. The total HPI of Pakistan was calculated at 54.1.

Israel landed just one spot above Pakistan, with “good” life expectancy and wellbeing, but a “poor” ecological footprint.

Bangladesh was higher up on the scale at 11, with the first two factors termed mediocre and the footprint as “good”.

India showed mediocre life expectancy and wellbeing but a “good” ecological footprint. India’s total HPI was 50.9.

The United States scored low because of its ecological footprint which was worse than the “poor” category. The life expectancy and well-being were, however, ranked “good”.Afghanistan was ranked 109.

The countries which landed at the bottom of the Happiness Index were mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa.

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