MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has placed 25th on the 2012 Happy Planet Index rankings that rate nations based on their citizens' health, happiness, and environmental sustainability.
The Philippines' latest ranking marked a drop from placing number 14 in 2009 and number 17 in 2006.
The New Economics Foundation (NEF), compiled the Index, said the Philippines' score of 52.4 reflects a "middling" life expectancy, relatively low levels of experienced well-being, and a very low ecological footprint.
Filipinos have an average life expectancy of 68.7 years and "happy life years" of only 41.8, according to NEF data.
The country has a gross domestic product per capita $3,969 -- which is less than 10% of the United States -- and placed 97th on governance ranking.
Costa Rica, Vietnam and Colombia – the countries where people live the longest, happiest, most sustainable lives -- topped the 2012 Happy Planet Index.
"Costa Ricans have higher average life expectancy and well-being than people living in the United States and the country has a per capita Ecological Footprint one third the size of that of the US," the NEF said.
The other countries in the top 10 are Belize, El Salvador, Jamaica, Panama, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Guatemala.
The US only ranked 105th on the index.
Bro. Clifford Sorita, a sociologist, told ABS-CBN News that Filipinos experience relatively low levels of depression compared to other countries but other issues contribute to a person's well-being.
According to NEF fellow Nic Marks, the index shows that well-being data is an accurate reflection of the economic and political fortunes of a country.
"The Happy Planet Index measures what really matters – long and happy lives now and the potential for good lives in the future. For too long we have relied on incomplete measures of progress that focus only on economic activity, such as GDP," he said.
“Rich and poor nations face different challenges but their ultimate goal is the same. The HPI not only reveals how far every country has to travel before it achieves good lives that don't cost the earth [or within its fair share of planetary resources] but also the direction it needs to move in," he added. - with a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News
Happy Planet Index Poster