How's Life? 2013
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How's Life? 2013

Measuring Well-being

Every person aspires to a good life. But what does "a good or a better life" mean? The second edition of How’s Life? provides an update on  the most important aspects that shape people’s lives and well-being: income, jobs, housing, health, work-life balance, education, social connections, civic engagement and governance, environment, personal security and subjective well-being. It paints a comprehensive picture of well-being in OECD countries and other major economies, by looking at people’s material living conditions and quality of life across the population. Through a wide range of comparable well-being indicators, the report shows that countries perform differently in the various dimensions of well-being. For instance, low-income countries in the OECD area tend to do very well in subjective well-being and work-life balance, while their level of material well-being is much lower than that of other OECD countries. The report responds to the needs of citizens for better information on well-being and the needs of policy makers to give a more accurate picture of societal progress.

In addition, the report contains in-depth studies of four key cross-cutting issues in well-being that are particularly relevant. First, this report analyses how well-being has changed during the global economic and financial crisis. Even though some effects of the crisis may become visible only in the long-term, the report finds that the Great Recession has large implications for both economic and non-economic well-being of households. Secondly, the report  looks at gender differences in well-being, showing that the traditional gender gap in favour of men has reduced but has not disappeared. It also finds that women and men do well in different areas of well-being and that they are increasingly sharing tasks and roles. Third, it looks at the quality of employment and well-being in the workplace. The report presents evidence on the main factors that drive people’s commitment at work and are key to strengthening  their capacity to cope with demanding jobs. Finally, the last chapter of the report studies the links between current and future well-being. It looks at ways to define and measure sustainability of wellbeing over time.

How’s Life? is part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, launched by the Organization on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary in 2011. The OECD Better Life Initiative aims to promote "Better Policies for Better Lives", in line with the OECD’s overarching mission. One of the other pillars of the OECD Better Life Initiative is the Better Life Index (www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org), an interactive composite index of well-being that aims at involving citizens in the debate on societal progress.

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Publication Date :
05 Nov 2013
DOI :
10.1787/9789264201392-en
 
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Gender differences in well‑being: Can women and men have it all? You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
DOI :
10.1787/how_life-2013-8-en

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Gender equality in well‑being is not simply a women’s issue. While traditional disadvantages faced by women and girls persist in most countries, men and boys are increasingly exposed to uncertain job prospects and need to adapt to changing tasks and societal expectations. Although men continue to score higher than women in a number of areas, no gender consistently outperforms the other and the gender gaps in well‑being have being narrowing in recent decades. Whilst women live longer than men, they are also ill more often. Girls are now doing better than boys in school, but still remain under-represented in the key fields of education that provide greater job opportunities. Similarly, although women are increasingly present in the labour market, they still earn less than men, spend more hours in unpaid work and find it harder to reach the top of the career ladder or start their own business. Men are more often the victims of homicide and assault, but women are the primary target of intimate partner violence. Finally, although women are more satisfied with their lives than men, they are more likely to experience negative emotions. Despite progress in mainstreaming gender perspectives in the collection and dissemination of national statistics, gender data and indicators are still insufficient or lack cross-country comparability in a number of critical well‑being areas.