Measuring well-being

Australia is the best place in the world to live and work, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The UK, by contrast, comes 10th in the OECD's Better Life Index, behind the US, Canada and the Scandinavian countries. Britain did, however, fare better than Germany and France, which were ranked 17th and 18th respectively.

Australia retained its place as the world's happiest industrialised nation for the third year running, boosted by strong indicators for health and housing. Life expectancy in Australia is 82 years – two years above the OECD average, while 90% of people say they are satisfied with their housing situation, more than the OECD average of 87%.

Australia – which enforces compulsory voting – also scored highly for public engagement, with 93% turnout at the recent elections. That compares with just 66% in the UK, and the OECD average of 72%.

The UK, by contrast, scores well for income and employment but poorly for work-life balance. About 12% of employees work very long hours, more than the OECD average of 9%. Average disposable income for households in Britain is £17,800 a year, above the OECD average of £15,300. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest, with the top 20% of the population earning nearly six times as much as the bottom 20%.

The Paris-based thinktank measured 11 topics to gauge general wellbeing in a country, comprising community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, housing, income, jobs, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance. Turkey was the lowest ranked of the 36 countries the OECD surveyed, with poor readings for almost all the topics.

Countries hit by the eurozone crisis were notably low on the list, with Portugal and Greece ranked 28th and 30th respectively. Both scored poorly on employment: in Greece some 56% of people aged 15 to 64 in Greece have a paid job, while in Portugal the figure is 64%, below the OECD average of 66%.

Source: The Guardian 

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