A happiness index is a measurement of the sustainability of a nation, region or city that typically includes three factors: self-reported happiness, life expectancy at birth and ecological footprint per capita. Happiness indexes can be used as an alternative primary goal for a nation as opposed to GDP.
Asking people to rate their own happiness is a commonly accepted approach to measuring quality of life. It tends to produce more consistent and defensible results than complex measurements that may include dozens of factors such as wealth, health, education, justice, crime and stability. If people aren't happy it's hardly productive to tell them they're wrong because you've developed a statistic.
Life expectancy is a reasonable proxy for health. Ecological footprint is perhaps the most problematic component as these tend to be controversial. Societies commonly produce hundreds of different waste products and some have a far greater impact than others. In many cases, ecological footprint calculations rely on a handful of factors.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about sustainability.
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