San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica ranks 12th in World Happiness Report

Costa Rica still ranks among the world’s happiest countries according to the United Nation’s 2013 World Happiness Report released Tuesday. Ticos are ranked as the 12th happiest people on Earth out of 156 countries. Costa Rica also was ranked 12th in the 2012 report.

Its No. 12 spot puts Costa Rica’s happiness ahead of every other country in Latin America, trailed by Panama (15) and Mexico (16), and at No. 2 in the Western Hemisphere, topped only by Canada (6). The U.S. ranked 17th, a marked drop from last year’s 11th place.  

The report analyzed data from surveys conducted between 2010 and 2012. While traditional happiness indicators like per-capita gross domestic product and life expectancy were considered in ranking happiness, other factors like the availability of social support and the perceptions of corruption and generosity were also included.

This is the second year the U.N. has released its happiness report, with the authors expanding their research this year to include policy suggestions for countries to improve the lives of their citizens.

Costa Rica showed “no significant increase or decrease” in happiness between the period of 2005-2007 and the period 2010-2012 according to the data, but happiness is on the rise in the region as well as the world as a whole.

Of the 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean listed in the report, 16 showed a significance increase in happiness. Worldwide, 60 countries showed higher happiness rankings.

Another happiness survey, a Gallup poll released in December 2012 also ranked Costa Rica among the happiest countries. The poll surveyed the citizens of more than 150 countries, asking them a series of yes or no questions relating to their emotions. Latin Americans reported more positive responses than any other area with Costa Rica tying for fifth with Ecuador. Costa Rica also tied for fifth with Chile in the list of the world’s most “emotional” societies. 

Contact Lindsay Fendt at

Comments are closed.