If you’re an expat in Mexico, you know that Mexico is a happy place to live, and you don’t need a survey to confirm that feeling. However, yesterday the United Nations released its annual World Happiness Report, which ranked Mexico #25 out of more than 150 countries measured.
How does the U.N. come up with its happiness ranking? It pulls the answers to one question from the massive annual Gallup World Poll. Gallup asks people in the countries it surveys to rate their lives on a scale of zero to 10, with zero being the worst possible life and 10 being the best possible life. The U.N. admits that there is some disagreement about what the measure should be called – “happiness” or “life satisfaction” – but either way, it’s a measure of how people feel about their lives.
As with most global quality of life studies, the Nordic countries tend to dominate the top tier and this survey is no different. Norway, Denmark and Iceland took the top three spots. Canada, which always does well in these studies, ranked #7. The U.S. came in at #14, but Mexico was not far behind at #25 out of over 150 countries studied.
A clue to Mexico’s happiness ranking can be found in an article published in the Financial Times of London this week headlined: “Mexico’s Economy Is Humming Along – Despite Trump.”
FT said, “Mexico is on a roll. It has notched up a trade surplus in February and the economy grew more than analysts were expecting in January, according to new data out this morning. That on top of the fact that the peso is back within spitting distance of its pre-election level and the stock market hit a record high last week. Trump trouble averted? Maybe.”
Without getting too wonky, FT said, “The state statistics institute also revealed the economy was strengthening. The global indicator of economic activity rose 3 percent in real terms in January compared to the same month in 2016, and there is a consensus forecast of 1.9 percent growth. It grew 2.5 percent seasonally-adjusted.”
FT said Mexico is not out of the woods just yet, particularly in light of looming NAFTA talks and Trump’s tax and trade policy, but conciliatory statements from the U.S. lately are encouraging.
Recent trips to Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara/Lake Chapala revealed a country going about its business and enjoying life. In PV, the crush of tourism was ringing registers everywhere, the Carretera a Chapala was bumper-to-bumper along Lake Chapala and Guadalajara’s Centro Histórico was filled with tourists and shoppers enjoying the nearly 90-degree weather.
Governments may change but life goes on in Mexico. Apparently a very happy life.