The 2016 Happy Planet Index measures sustainable well-being for citizens, focusing on four main criteria: life expectancy, inequality, general well-being and a nation’s ecological footprint.
In this year’s index, the country came in fifth overall and second in the Asia Pacific region. Though it was a slight slip from 2012, when Vietnam ranked second, according to Thanh Nien, the country still stands above every other nation in Southeast Asia and was only narrowly beat out by Vanuatu for the happiest country in the region.
In its data, NEF praised Vietnam’s low ecological footprint; the country was one of only three top-10 nations to achieve an ecological footprint which the think tank considered environmentally sustainable.
“[Vietnam] has a strikingly low Ecological Footprint and economic output per head almost 24 times smaller than nearby Hong Kong,” reads the Happy Planet Index website.
A high life expectancy and one of the world’s highest rates of school enrollment – 98% in 2012 – also helped to put Vietnam in the top 10 along with steady economic growth.
NEF explains: “The country has been hailed as a global poster child for poverty reduction – the number of people living in poverty fell from 58% in 1993 to 10.7% in 2010.”
While it’s mostly good news, NEF also pointed out that Vietnam’s ecological footprint is growing at an increasingly fast pace and warned against the dangers of environmental damage. By and large, however, there’s plenty of data to make you smile.
[Photo via Flickr user Greg Holtfreter/ Content: Saigoneer.com]