Costa Rica Named Happiest Country In The World

Glenn Brock

Disneyland may disagree, but Costa Rica has been named the "Happiest Place in the World."

The Christian Times is reporting that the University of California, Berkeley Greater Good Science Center conducted a survey of countries around the world, trying to determine which was the happiest country. Over 40,000 students from around the world took part in the survey for a class called "The Science Of Happiness."

The study used four different survey scales; subjective happiness (if a person is basically happy or unhappy), life satisfaction (if a person was happy or unhappy about their lives), flourishing (rating a person's level of optimism, self-esteem and their life's purpose and meaning) and social connection (their happiness related in association with others they encounter). Of the four survey scales, Costa Rica was first in subjective happiness, life satisfaction, and flourishing. Costa Rica finished sixth in social connection.

In another, separate survey, conducted by Pew Research, the results indicated that Mexico was the happiest country in the world. The difference between the survey, however, was the Pew survey included respondent's percieved happiness about the economic status of their country in relation to the country's Gross Domestic Product. The Pew study also reveals that persons also correlate a degree of personal happiness with living in what is considered a medium-income country.

The Berkeley survey, quite to the contrary, eschewed such findings, pointing out that Costa Rica was a rather poor country, yet continually scored high in many happiness surveys.

The Costa Rican Times is also reporting the Costa Rican government is working on making the small Central American nation an international point of travel. Starting December 3rd, the $29 departure fee that is to be paid before leaving Costa Rica will now be added to the ticket for the flight home. Previously, that fee would have to be paid waiting in a line before boarding the plane.

Approved in October of 2002, the departure fee was collected so Costa Rica could maintain and upgrade the airports there. According to Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacon, the agencies that regulate banking, airlines and airport management, Immigration and Nationality, Ministry of Finance and the Costa Rican Tourism Institute agreed to add the departure tax to the final ticket, thus avoiding that extra line.

It may be a small step, but it's attention to detail such as this that allows Costa Rica to be a mecca for whale-watching tourists, sportfishing enthusiasts or tourists who simply want to lounge around the beach and relax.

[Image courtesy of Top Rated Flights]