34 OECD Countries: What’s Your Better Life Index?

34 OECD Countries: What’s Your Better Life Index?
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“[The OECD] Better Life Index was designed as an interactive tool that allows you to see how countries perform according to the importance you give to each of 11 topics – like education, housing, environment, and so on – that contribute to well‐being in OECD countries.

Your Better Life Index currently profiles the 34 OECD member countries across the 11 topics of well-being, and will eventually include the OECD’s six partner countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and South Africa), representing the world’s major economies. The Index contains an overall description of the quality of life in each country, followed by its performance across the 25 individual indicators that make up the 11 topics of well‐being. Freely‐accessible OECD reports and other sources of information are also provided to assist those who want to learn even more.

Your Better Life Index allows you to put different weights on each of the topics, and thus to decide for yourself what contributes most to well‐being. It also helps show how prioritizing specific issues of well‐being affects the overall picture. By comparing your vision of a better life with the actual progress of your country, you can become a better‐informed citizen and better impact the policymaking process. It is a pioneering, interactive tool combining OECD substance with modern technology in order to educate, promote dialogue and encourage consensus on the balance between societal and economic well‐being.”

Access the interactive tool and compare the indexes:

Underneath, the profile of the United States:

Population: 304.2 mil.
Visitors per year:  58.0 mil.
Renewable energy: 5.65 %
The United States performs very well in overall measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In the United States, the average household earned 37 690 USD in 2008, much more than the OECD average.

In terms of employment, nearly 67% of people aged 15 to 64 in the United States have a paid job. People in the United States work 1768 hours a year, more than in other OECD countries. 73% of mothers are employed after their children begin school, suggesting that women are able to successfully balance family and career.

Having a good education is an important requisite to finding a job. In the United States, 89% of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma, higher than the OECD average. As to the quality of its educational system, the average student scored 500 out of 600 in reading ability according to the latest PISA student-assessment programme, slightly higher than the OECD average.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in the United States is 77.9 years, more than one year below the OECD average. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 19 micrograms per cubic meter, and is lower than levels found in most OECD countries.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in the United States. 92% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, just above the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 90% during recent elections; this figure is also higher than the OECD average of 72%. In regards to crime, only 2% of people reported falling victim to assault over the previous 12 months.

When asked, 70% of people in the United States said they were satisfied with their life, well above the OECD average of 59%.

These findings are based on data from 2008 or later.”