WITH 99 percent of its electricity coming from renewable sources, low social inequality and high investment in health and education, Costa Rica is frequently cited as the happiest place on earth.
But according to a new study released through US News, at least 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific edged out Costa Rica to an unimpressive number 36. Indeed, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, China and even Vietnam sat above the Central American would-be utopia.
The study and model used to score and rank countries was developed by BAV Consulting and the University of Pennsylvania in consultation with US News and World Report. It surveyed more than 16,000 from across the globe on a set of 65 country attributes to assess the “success of a modern nation”.
China, South Korea and Japan made the top ten most powerful countries, with China surprisingly being edged out by Russia for second place behind the United States. Perhaps respondents are still living in the Cold War.
According to survey respondents, Australians are the friendliest people among the 60 countries, while New Zealand was considered the most scenic country on the list. Despite an ailing economy and aging population, Japan ranked number 7 behind Australia, gaining an impressive 9.9 out of 10 score for entrepreneurship. It was also ranked second out of ‘Best Countries for Green Living’.
At 21, Thailand was ranked as the best place on the planet to start a business, whilst it also got first place for ‘Millennials Pick: Best Countries for Economic Potential’. It ranked only 32nd on the ‘Best Countries for Retirement’, which is bizarre given how many middle-aged to elderly farang live there and that it has topped ‘best places to retire’ rankings elsewhere. Malaysia came in overall at number 28, trailing only Thailand in the ‘Best Countries to Start a Business’.
While Indonesia trailed its Southeast Asian and antipodean neighbours at 42 in overall ranking, it still ranked higher than much wealthier nations such as Hungary, Iran and Chile.
Strangely, for a country of 14,000 islands which boasts volcanoes, rainforests and stunning beaches, it was scored only a 3 out of 10 for adventure. But in a ranking that will make the national government happy, Indonesia was deemed fourth for ‘Best Countries to Invest in’.
Asian countries dominated the top five in the ‘Movers’ subcategory – denoting the best “up-and-coming” economies – with India, Singapore, China, Thailand and Japan taking out all of the leading spots.
In another slightly dubious honour, an Asian country takes out the gold medal for ‘Countries Donald Trump Tweets About the Most’.
You guessed it: China.