Happiness is... a small island in the Pacific

Alternative study says Danes not the happiest people in the world, contrary to popular belief. In fact, they are on the bottom half of the list

Something is wrong with the state of Denmark, according to the Happy Plant Index (HIP) compiled by alternative UK think-tank New Economics Foundation (NEF). Denmark, which has traditionally ranked high on global gladness surveys, came in at number 99 on the list of 178 countries.

The report attempts to log the progress of nations based on the amount of resources they use compared to the length and happiness of people's lives. With resource consumption pitted head to head with traditional criteria such as life expectancy, many Western nations placed in the bottom half of the list.

The combined figure for life length and satisfaction is divided by the country's 'ecological footprint' - a measure of the amount of land required to sustain the population and absorb its energy consumption. Denmark's heavy ecological footprint was to blame for its low score.

Andrew Simms, NEF's policy director, said the index is an expression of countries' successes or failures with providing their citizens with a good life while restricting themselves to environmental resources limits.

The happiest place on earth, according to HIP, is the tiny island of Vanuatu in the south Pacific. Mark Lowen, a journalist from the island's online newspaper, Vanuatu Online, that their recipe for happiness was simple.

'People are generally happy here because they are very satisfied with very little. This is not a consumer-driven society. Life here is about community and family and goodwill to other people. It's a place where you don't worry too much,' Lowen told British daily The Guardian.

Danes can, however, pride themselves in being the top ranked Nordic country, after Iceland which came in 64th place. Some 28 percent of Danes rated their life-satisfaction at 10 out of 10 while less than 1 percent rated it at one.

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