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How is your expat life? Better or worse than last year?

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…

Five Millenial friends laughing together
Is expat life treating you well?

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.

How is life in France? Data from the OECD
The ‘How’s Life?’ profile for France

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.

Blond woman holding small child depicting work-life balance
Balancing work and life are crucial for happiness and well-being for most expats

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.

Work-life balance

11 Dimensions

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”.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark

The best performing countries for a Better Life

Top 20% performing countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United States.

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.

Bottom 20% performing countries: Brazil, Chile, Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Portugal, Turkey, Russian Federation.

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