New measures of wellbeing


Some excellent new metrics have been published recently. First up is the ‘national doughnuts’ website by a fantastic team of researchers at Leeds - Dan O’Neill, Andrew Fanning, Will Lamb, Julia Steinberger. They assembled data for 151 countries and made national doughnut-style analyses. Spoiler alert: there is no country in the world that currently meets the needs of all its people within its share of the means of the planet. Check it out here.


And then there is the Thriving Places Index just published by Happy City n Bristol - a visual metric for assessing districts across England (Wales coming soon). I love the graphic clarity of these. I spirit they are very much District Doughnuts…

Thriving Places Index


Is this the link you meant Kate? The original link goes to the thriving places site.

I really like it but it did throw up some strange results like Syria, even accounting for the age of the data it was odd.

But an amazing start and new tool nonetheless!


Thanks for the heads up! I just fixed the link. Yes, indexes do throw up unexpected outliers - I don’t know about the Syria data - I’ll ask the researchers behind the index if they want to join here and discuss…


New Zealand Treasury working on incorporating Wellbeing measurement


Syria does relatively well on the environmental indicators (within the boundary for 4 of 7), but not very well on the social indicators (only achieving 3 of the 11 social thresholds). Most of the data are for the year 2011 (or in some cases earlier). Is there something in particular that you found suprising in the results for Syria?

Here is the doughnut for Syria:


They left out homo slaughterus?


Hi @DrDanONeill, thanks so much for replying, I sent your work to a number of colleagues and we all thought it was brilliant, congrats.

It was a little hard to find the year for the data although I note it says 2011 at the end of the Nature article. The civil war in Syria started in 2011 so it is understandable that 2011 data would look better than what would be expected today.

In terms of future work, it would be amazing to see time series data to see how the issues have evolved. Are you planning to maintain and expand it?

One thing which I think would be great to understand more is the relationships/correlations work you have done, in particular how pulling different levers will impact others. The scenario analysis tool is a good start for this but I did find it a bit hard to use. Presumably the relationships would be different by country as well.

Nonetheless it is brilliant and can see many applications, particularly in my area of work, investing and allocating financial capital. I hope you will be able to continue your great work in this area.



This is excellent . . .we need metrics to share with the media on sustainability.

I’m looking as well for other sustainability indexes like:

I want to find those that we can start sharing with the media to confront the limitless claims of politicians.


Just came across with your work. I am a continually frustrated Ph.D. in economics, feminist econ specialized. Took me years to finish. Not only my skill set did not match with studying econ my spirit and my heart and mind resisted to it fully. Have not read your book yet. Literally, learn about you, your work in the past 24 hours. I believe the way in which you hold economics accountable. Have you compared/contrast rest of the world well-being measures and the doughnut? I used capabilities approach in my research. I am very curious/interested how you critique, especially Genuine Progress Index (GPI). Yes! it is very economic centric…Love to read anything you wrote (if you wrote) on the comparisons. I am very passionate about narrative approaches as oppose to the metric system. I understand the combination method too. I truly believe that it is not about measurement it is about the culture and understanding and beliefs we need to shift…not the numbers per say. Will dive into your work more!! I think the way one presents and what one truly believes is so so so important. I am a product of feminist econ education yet I found a lot of bleeding places in that movement/group…


I feel there is one important aspect being overlooked in all environmental and wellbeing issues, and that is: NOISE. It’s funny that it is rarely refered to, being a very disturbing element in our daily lives, not only in urban environments, but also in more natural settings.
I live in a hilly city sorrounded by mountains (Oviedo, Spain) and it is impossible to escape from noise. All the city parks get the noise from nearby streets, avenues, bypass roads. I suffer the supermarket trucks’ refrigeration engines’ noise for hours three times a day while they unload, and our garbage collection system (based on the daily placement and removal of rental garbage cans) would make most northern Europeans go crazy.
I have sometimes been hiking, and I have noticed how the noise from distant highways (high-speed highways) can be heard up in the mountains, while the air is pierced by passing airplanes.
I wish ecologists and ecological thought/design took this into consideration.


What I especially mean is that attention is given to the chemical pollution of soil, water and air only. I feel noise distorts our lives, causes health issues, and deteriorates our wellbeing.


You are likely aware of the Ecological Footprint, which can measure towards of a one-planet lifestyle (inside that green doughnut?). I’ve been working with this measure for a decade or so, published a couple academic papers and am working on getting a third published. During this time, I’ve always wondered what might replace capitalism, and find your doughnut economics model the best.

Of high input value to a discussion, I would recommend the TEDx talk by Ecological Footprint co-founder Mathis Wackernagel, where a graph shows countries with United Nations Human Development Index vs Ecological Footprint (65% carbon footprint here in Canada) – a consumption of our net biosphere. The object shown is to get inside the box (similar to inside the green circle).

Thanks for putting out your voice out in a second TEDx Kate !!! Keep talking … excellent presentation voice and story by the way.

If you love maps as I do, I put together this all population centers in Canada based on the 2016 Statistics Canada data in terms of planets and tons. Educational?

Ecological Footprint – San Francisco


I’m slightly confused by how New Zealand has 119.2% enrolment rate into secondary schools? Where is this information gathered?