OECD Better Life Index

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The OECD Better Life Index, launched in May 2011 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development following a decade of work on this issue, is a first attempt to bring together internationally comparable measures of well-being in line with the recommendations of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress also known as the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission. The recommendations made by this Commission sought to address concerns that standard macroeconomic statistics like GDP failed to give a true account of people’s current and future well-being.[1] The OECD Better Life Initiative includes two main elements: "Your Better Life Index" and "How's Life?"

History and methodology[edit]

Your Better Life Index (BLI),[2] launched in May 2011, is an interactive tool that allows people to compare countries' performances according to their own preferences in terms of what makes for a better life. It was designed by Berlin-based agency Raureif in collaboration with Moritz Stefaner. First published on 24 May 2011, it includes 11 "dimensions" of well-being:[3]

  1. Housing: housing conditions and spendings (e.g. real estate pricing)
  2. Income: household income and financial wealth
  3. Jobs: earnings, job security and unemployment
  4. Community: quality of social support network
  5. Education: education and what you get out of it
  6. Environment: quality of environment (e.g. environmental health)
  7. Governance: involvement in democracy
  8. Health
  9. Life Satisfaction: level of happiness
  10. Safety: murder and assault rates
  11. Work-life balance

Each topic is built using one to three specific indicators. In the case of work-life balance, for example, three separate measures are considered: the number of employees working long hours; the percentage of working mothers; and the time people devote to leisure and personal activities. The BLI seeks to engage citizens in the discussion of what matters most in their lives and what governments should do to improve well-being.

Canberra, has been ranked as the world's most liveable city according to the OECD Better Life Index for the second consecutive year, based on results published on 6 October 2014.[4][5][6]

How's Life?[7] offers a comprehensive picture of what makes up people's lives in 40 countries worldwide. The report assesses the above 11 specific aspects of life as part of the OECD's ongoing effort to devise new measures for assessing well-being that go beyond GDP.

New indicators and dimensions are planned be added to the Better Life Index in the future. For example, the Better Life Index was criticised for not showing inequalities in a society.[8] Future editions of the index are planned to take inequalities into account, by focusing on well-being achievements of specific groups of the population (women and men and low and high socio-economic status).


2016 ranking[edit]


  Explained by: Housing
  Explained by: Income
  Explained by: Jobs
  Explained by: Community
  Explained by: Education
  Explained by: Environment
  Explained by: Civic engagement
  Explained by: Health
  Explained by: Life Satisfaction
  Explained by: Safety
  Explained by: Work-Life Balance
Overall Rank
Country Housing Income Jobs Community Education Environment Civic engagement Health Life Satisfaction Safety Work-Life Balance
1  Norway
2  Australia
3  Denmark
4   Switzerland
5  Canada
6  Sweden
7  New Zealand
8  Finland
9  United States
10  Iceland
11  Netherlands
12  Germany
13  Luxembourg
14  Belgium
15  Austria
16  United Kingdom
17  Ireland
18  France
19  Spain
20  Slovenia
21  Czech Republic
22  Estonia
23  Japan
24  Slovakia
25  Italy
26  Israel
27  Poland
28  South Korea
29  Portugal
30  Latvia
31  Greece
32  Hungary
33  Russia
34  Chile
35  Brazil
36  Turkey
37  Mexico
38  South Africa

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gerhardt, Tina (20 June 2012). "Rio+20 Kicks Off". The Progressive. 
  2. ^ "OECD Better Life Index". 
  3. ^ Marber, Peter. "Brave New Math". World Policy Journal (Spring 2012). Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "OECD Better Life Index". 
  5. ^ "Want an Easy Life? Try Canberra, Australia". The New York Times. 7 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Hutchens, Gareth. "Canberra the best place to live, in the world's best country: OECD". 
  7. ^ "How's life? Measuring well-being.". 2013. doi:10.1787/9789264201392-en. 
  8. ^ Baïetto, Thomas (25 May 2011). "La difficile mesure du bien-être des populations" – via Le Monde. 
  9. ^ "2016 Update Report download" (PDF). Retrieved 20 Mar 2016. 
  10. ^ 2016 Table download (XLS), Figure2.2, retrieved 20 Mar 2016 

External links[edit]