SA ‘one of world’s most unhappy countries’

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South Africa is one of the 10 unhappiest countries in the world - even unhappier than Zimbabwe, according to a report on on Wednesday.

That's according to the Happy Planet Index (HPI), which has been issued by the New Economics Foundation, a British non-governmental organisation.

The report is a new way of determining progress or development, and the researchers said they measured “what mattered” - people's life expectancy, their experience of welfare, the state of their environment and the sustainable use of their resources.

Altogether 151 countries were polled, and South Africa was ranked as number 142 on the list.

One thousand people older than 15 from each country were asked to fill in questionnaires about their personal happiness.

The HPI says that citizens of a happy country should have a life expectancy of 87, their level of happiness should be 8 out of 10 and their carbon footprint should not be bigger than 1,7 hectares per capita.

South Africans have a life expectancy of 52,8 years, their happiness levels average at 4,7 and their carbon footprint is 2,6 hectares per capita.

Zimbabweans have a life expectancy of 51,4, their happiness levels averaged 4,8 and their carbon footprint was 1,2.

Botswana was rated as the unhappiest country, and Costa Rica as the happiest.


The top 10 happy countries were (from happiest down):

Costa Rica




El Salvador







And the bottom 10 were (with unhappiest at the bottom):

South Africa






Central African Republic



Botswana. -Sapa, IOL


* The report is available at

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