How's Life?
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How's Life?

Measuring Well-being

Every person aspires to a good life. But what does "a good or a better life" mean? This report looks at the most important aspects that shape people’s lives and well-being: income, jobs, housing, health, work and 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. The report responds to the needs of citizens for better information on well-being and of policy makers to give a more accurate picture of societal progress.

The report finds that well-being has increased on average over the past fifteen years: people are richer and more likely to be employed; they enjoy better housing conditions and are exposed to lower air pollution; they live longer and are more educated; they are also exposed to fewer crimes. But differences across countries are large. Furthermore, some groups of the population, particularly less educated and low-income people, tend to fare systematically worse in all dimensions of well-being considered in this report: for instance they live shorter lives and report greater health problems; their children obtain worse school results; they participate less in political activities; they can rely on lower social networks in case of needs; they are more exposed to crime and pollution; they tend to be less satisfied with their life as a whole than more educated and higher-income people.

How’s Life? is part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, launched by the Organization on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary. 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 Your 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 :
12 Oct 2011
DOI :
10.1787/9789264121164-en
 
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Housing conditions You do not have access to this content

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    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/3011061ec006.pdf
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Author(s):
OECD
Pages :
81–102
DOI :
10.1787/9789264121164-6-en

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Housing is a major element of people’s material living standards. It is essential to meet basic needs, such as for shelter from weather conditions, and to offer a sense of personal security, privacy and personal space. Good housing conditions are also essential for people’s health and affect childhood development. Further, housing costs make up a large share of the household budget and constitute the main component of household wealth. This chapter describes housing conditions through indicators of the living space available, access to basic sanitary facilities, the weight of housing costs on household income and people’s satisfaction with their housing. No core set of housing indicators currently exists, which underscores the need for more comparable data in this field. Overall, housing conditions seem good in most OECD countries although, in terms of living space, the results are less satisfactory when household composition is taken into consideration. On average, almost all household dwellings in OECD countries have access to basic sanitary facilities, although important differences remain across countries, and a non-negligible share of people in OECD countries live in overcrowded dwellings. Housing costs are a major concern for households’ finances, and income is an essential driver of housing conditions.
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