Australia Happiest Nation – OECD Index
Tuesday, 28th May 2013 at 1:49 pm
Australia is one of the happiest countries in the industrialised world, according to the OECD’s latest Better Life Index.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Better Life Index
says Australia performs exceptionally well in measures of well-being, as shown by the fact it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.
The OECD ranked the world's developed economies on criteria such as jobs, income, environment and health. Australia kept the top spot for the third year in a row ahead of Sweden and Canada.
“Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards,” the Index said.
“In Australia, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is $28,884 USD a year, more than the OECD average of $23,047 USD a year.
“But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20 per cent of the population earn six times as much as the bottom 20 per cent.
“Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Australia, where 94 per cent of people believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 90 per cent.
“In terms of employment, over 73 per cent of people aged 15 to 64 in Australia have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66 per cent.
“Some 79 per cent of men are in paid work, compared with 67 per cent of women. People in Australia work 1,693 hours a year, less than most people in the OECD who work 1 776 hours.
“Almost 14 per cent of employees work very long hours, much higher than the OECD average of 9 per cent, with 21 per cent of men working very long hours compared with just 6 per cent for women.
“In Australia, 73 per cent of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, close to the OECD average of 74 per cent.
“This is truer of men than women, as 76 per cent of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 71 per cent of women. This difference is higher than the OECD average and suggests women’s participation in higher education could be strengthened. Australia is nonetheless a top-performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system.”
The average student scored 519 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 497, making Australia one of the strongest OECD countries in students’ skills. On average in Australia, girls outperformed boys by 9 points, in line with the average OECD gap.
In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Australia is almost 82 years, two years higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 84 years, compared with 80 for men.
In general, the report found Australians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 84 per cent of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 80 per cent.
View the full report here