How’s life at the moment? OK, pretty good, great or an endless struggle? The OECD’s annual ‘How’s Life?’ report makes a pretty good stab at measuring how people are feeling around the world. You can contribute to their study, compare how your life is with others around the world and discover the place to live that provides your essential criteria for your well-being…
Each year, over the past four years, the OECD has published the ‘How’s Life? Measuring Well-being‘ report. It forms a crucial part of their Better Life initiative, which features a range of studies and analysis about people’s well-being and how to measure it, and includes the interactive Better Life Index website.
Are our lives getting better?
Since 2005, the OECD notes that there are signs of progress and improvement in peoples’ lives, but there are losses in some countries that offset the improvements. The report also provides well-being country profiles, “pinpointing strengths, challenges and changes in well-being over time” in 41 countries.
In many countries, life has improved over the last 12 months, but the effects of the economic crisis that began in 2008 are still being felt. Household incomes have increased but the rate of increase has slowed down. The percentage of people living without access to basic sanitation has fallen by over a third since 2005; and life expectancy has gone up by nearly two years globally. However, there are some negative global trends: long term unemployment has increased since 2005 and labour market insecurity is higher.
Compared to the pre-crisis years, voter turnout has fallen, the OECD average life satisfaction has decreased slightly, and the share of people who feel supported by friends and family has fallen by three percentage points.
The resources that sustain well‑being over time have a mixed picture some positive and some negative: there is falling per capita greenhouse gas emissions, a reduction in smoking, greater investment in R&D, and higher produced economic assets but worsening household debt in a majority of countries, falling financial net worth of government, increasing obesity, and falling trust in government.
The 11 dimensions that the OECD considers as essential to a good life are: income and wealth; jobs and earnings; housing conditions; health status; work-life balance; education and skills; social connections; civic engagement and governance; environmental quality; personal security and subjective well-being.
What matters most to you?
You can submit your own mini-index to the OECD about what matters most to you out of the 11 dimensions. You can then compare your index with other countries and find a place the most closely matches your aspirations for a “Better Life”.
The best performing countries for a Better Life
Middle 60% performing countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom.
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