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This app has been developed to provide an open-source, user-friendly interface to explore well-being throughout the world. Well-being at country level is assessed using the concept of happiness, a measure by which social progress across countries can be compared. This data is sourced from the 2016 World Happiness Report produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. At city level, well-being is assessed using the concept of liveability, a measure by which the living conditions of cities across the world can be compared. This data is sourced from the Global Liveability Ranking 2015 produced by the Economist Economic Intelligence Unit. Continents and regions are defined in accordance with the World Bank development indicators. All of the data used is publicly available.


Simply put, six key variables, which have been broadly found in literature to be important in explaining differences in life evaluations at a national level, are used to calculate the happiness score for a country on a scale of 0 to 10:

Variable Description
GDP per Capita The natural logarithm of Gross Domestic Product per Capita is measured in terms of Purchasing Power Parity adjusted to constant 2011 international dollars, according to the World Development Indicators released by the World Bank in December 2015.
Social Support The national average response to the Gallup World Poll (GWP) question “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?”
Healthy Life Expectancy The time series of healthy life expectancy at birth constructed from data from the World Health Organisation and the World Development Indicators. First, ratios of healthy life expectancy to life expectancy in 2012 are determined using both sources. Then, the country-specific ratios are applied to other years to generate healthy life expectancy.
Freedom to Make Life Choices The national average of binary responses to the GWP question “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what you do with your life?”
Generosity The residual of regressing the national average of GWP responses to the question, “Have you donated money to a charity in the past month?” on GDP per capita.
Perceptions of Corruption The average of binary responses to two GWP questions:
1) “Is corruption widespread throughout the government or not?”
2) “Is corruption widespread within businesses or not?”
If data for government corruption is missing, the perception of business corruption is used as the overall corruption-perception measure.

Social support, GDP per Capita and Healthy Life Expectancy are the three most important factors.


The liveability score for a city is calculated using category weights, which themselves are divided into equally weighted subcategories to ensure that the score covers as many indicators as possible. Indicators are scored as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. These are then weighted to produce a rating, where 100 means that liveability in a city is ideal and 1 means that it is intolerable.

For qualitative variables, an “Economist Intelligence Unit rating” (EIU rating) is awarded based on the judgment of in-house expert country analysts and a field correspondent based in each city. For quantitative variables, a rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a location using external data sources.

Liveability Score

Category Weight (%)
Stability 25
Healthcare 20
Culture and Environment 25
Education 10
Infrastructure 20

Category: Stability

Indicator Source
Prevalence of petty crime EIU rating
Prevalence of violent crime EIU rating
Threat of terror EIU rating
Threat of military conflict EIU rating
Threat of civil unrest/conflict EIU rating

Category: Healthcare

Indicator Source
Availability of private healthcare EIU rating
Quality of private healthcare EIU rating
Availability of public healthcare EIU rating
Quality of public healthcare EIU rating
Availability of over-the-counter drugs EIU rating
General healthcare indicators Adopted from the World Bank

Category: Culture and Environment

Indicator Source
Humidity/temperature rating Adapted from average weather conditions
Discomfort of climate to travellers EIU rating
Level of corruption Adapted from Transparency International
Social or religious restrictions EIU rating
Level of censorship EIU rating
Sporting availability EIU field rating of 3 sport indicators
Cultural availability EIU field rating of 4 cultural indicators
Food and drink EIU field rating of 4 cultural indicators
Consumer goods and services EIU rating of product availability

Category: Education

Indicator Source
Availability of private education EIU rating
Quality of private education EIU rating
Public education indicators Adapted from the World Bank

Category: Infrastructure

Indicator Source
Quality of road network EIU rating
Quality of public transport EIU rating
Quality of international links EIU rating
Availability of good quality housing EIU rating
Quality of energy provision EIU rating
Quality of water provision EIU rating
Quality of telecommunications EIU rating


  • The shapefile to produce the interactive map is provided by Bjorn Sandvik
  • The coordinates of cities were obtained from Simplemaps
  • The 2016 World Happiness Report data was obtained from their official website
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Rankings for 2015 were obtained from the Herald Sun

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