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Where is Life Best?

28 June, 2011 13:40  Erin Erin

What is Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)?

OECD logoEstablished in 1961, this organization seeks to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. They do this by providing a forum in which governments can work together to share statistics, evaluate issues, and find solutions to common problems. Their site offers comparative data for quality of housing, salaries, levels of education, and more.

OECD Better Life Initiative

enjoying the life together © Alina Isakovich - FotoliaOECD tries to define what makes a better life. While this is highly influenced by personal preferences, there are common indicators. The OECD Better Life Initiative offers a dazzling interactive tool to match your preferences with the country that most closely matches those results. The statistics of 34 countries are evaluated on:

The Index allows you to put different weights on which topics mean the most to you, creating a personalized chart of what defines well-being and what country best fits those criteria.

Results

Which countries fall into the top of the list and which fall towards the bottom reveal a great deal about how country's are doing, as well as what we consider "well being". Here are some of the countries that rank the highest, and lowest, on OECD Better Life Initiative.

High

Australia
Australia outperforms most countries in measures of well-being. The average household income is higher than the OECD average of $22,284 USD. Nearly 72 percent of people aged 15 to 64 in Australia have a paid job. The work week is also manageable with about 1,690 work hours a year, less than most people in the OECD. Also, over 70 percent of mothers are employed after their children begin school, suggesting that women are able to successfully balance family and career.
Australia is a top-performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system. The average student scored 515 out of 600 in reading ability according to the latest PISA student-assessment program, higher than the OECD average.
The country offers excellent health standards with life expectancy at 81.5 years, more than two years above the OECD average. Pollution is low, and there is a strong sense of community. Voter turnout is quite high at 95 percent, indicating a good measure of public trust.
Most importantly, 75 percent of people in Australia said they were satisfied with their life (OECD average - 59 percent).

Canada
Canada ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics. The average household earned more than the OECD average and 72 percent of people aged 15 to 64 in Canada have a paid job. About 1,699 hours are worked per year.
Having a good education is an important requisite to finding a job. Over 87 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma which is much higher than the OECD average. The average student scored 524 out of 600 in reading ability according to the latest PISA student-assessment program, higher than the OECD average.
Life expectancy is 80.7 years and pollutants measured by the level of atmospheric PM10 is 15 micrograms per cubic meter, lower than levels found in most OECD countries.
Though there is a strong sense of community, there is only moderate levels of civic participation in Canada. However, 95 percent of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need. Voter turnout is around 60 percent, less than the OECD average of 72 percent. However, only 1 percent were victims of an assault over the past 12 months.
Almost 80 percent of people in Canada said they were satisfied with their life, higher than the OECD average of 59%.

Sweden
Sweden is a top ranking county in most categories. The average salary is higher than the average and nearly 73 percent of people aged 15 to 64 in Sweden have a paid job. The work week is about 1,610 hours a year, less than other OECD countries.
About 85 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma. The quality of it's education system is exceptional with students testing high on international tests.
Life expectancy is 81.2 years and the level of atmospheric PM10 is 11 micrograms per cubic meter. This is the lowest level in the OECD.
Sweden has a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Sweden. Voter turnout is about 82 percent. Only 5 percent of people reported falling victim to assault over the previous 12 months.
About 83 percent of people in Sweden said they were satisfied with their life.

Low

Mexico
Mexico has made progress over the last decade, especially in the areas of education, health and jobs. However, it still ranks low in a large number of topics.
The average salary is much lower than the OECD average. About 60 percent of people aged 15 to 64 have a paid job. People in Mexico work 1,857 hours a year, with a large portion of house work occurring each day. Only 57 percent of mothers are employed after their children begin school, suggesting that women encounter difficulties when balancing family and career.
In Mexico, 34 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma. This is much lower than the OECD average.
Life expectancy is 75 years, four years below the OECD average. The level of atmospheric PM10 is at 33 micrograms per cubic meter which is much higher than levels found in most OECD countries.
There is a strong sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Mexico. Voter turnout is low at 59 percent, indicative of a low level of trust in government. Crime is high, especially in light of the recent drug wars.
About 66 percent of people in Mexico said they were satisfied with their life, which is above the OECD average of 59 percent.

South Korea
Korea performs moderately well, ranking higher than average in several topics, but much lower in some important topics. The average household earns a low salary, with almost 63 percent of people aged 15 to 64 having a paid job. People work 2,256 hours a year, much higher than the OECD average of 1,739 hours and the highest rate in the OECD.
Almost 80 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma which is higher than the OECD average. Korea is exceptionally well-performing in terms of the quality of its educational system, scoring the highest on international tests in the OECD.
Life expectancy at birth in Korea is 80 years, slightly above the OECD average. Pollutants are quite high at 31 micrograms per cubic meter.
There is a moderate sense of community and civic participation in Korea. Voter turnout is somewhat poor, with about 63 percent of the population attending elections. In regards to crime, only 2 percent of people reported falling victim to assault over the previous 12 months.
About 36 percent of people in Korea said they were satisfied with their life, much lower than the OECD average.

Turkey
There have been improvements in quality of life, but Turkey still ranks low in a large number of topics. The average household salary is very low, much less than the OECD average.
Nearly 46 percent of people aged 15 to 64 in Turkey have a paid job. People work 1,918 hours a year, more than in other OECD countries. only 24 percent of mothers are employed, indicating there is difficulty for woman re-encountering the work force.
It is estimated that about 30 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma. The quality of education is also variable, but generally lower than the OECD average.
Life expectancy at birth in Turkey is 73.6 years. This has increased greatly since 1960, but is nearly six years below the OECD average. Pollutants are also high at 37 micrograms per cubic meter.
There is a moderate sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Turkey. Only 79 percent of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, lower than the OECD average. Voter turnout is around 84 percent, higher than the OECD average of 72 percent.
A very low amount of people in Turkey report satisfaction at 28 percent.

   



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