We recently had the honor of contributing to Google’s Think Quarterly publication. The infographic design is based on data from the Happy Planet Index 2.0, first published in 2009. The Index was developed by statistician Nic Marks, and started as a way to create a better alternate indicator for GDP. Marks explains that, “thinking that GDP isn’t a very good measure for societal progress, the idea of the Happy Planet Index was to create a vision of how success for a nation should be judged — through sustainable happiness — then to create an indicator that showed progress towards that.”
The innovation of the Index is to examine the correlation between happiness and sustainability. Life expectancy measures objective years, the concept of happy life years reflects the fact that it’s no use creating good lives now at the expense of future generations. “We need to think about the cost of creating those good lives,” says Marks, “and that’s where the ecological footprint comes in.”
The Index gathered data on life expectancy, ‘happy life years’ and ecological footprint, then crunched it together to rank countries by how efficiently they created wellbeing among their people. See the entire layout from the publication below.