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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    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/3011061e.pdf
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12 Oct 2011
DOI: 
10.1787/9789264121164-en
 
Chapter
 

Income and Wealth You do not have access to this content

English
Click to Access: 
    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/3011061ec004.pdf
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/economics/how-s-life/income-and-wealth_9789264121164-4-en
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Author(s):
OECD
Pages:
37–56
DOI: 
10.1787/9789264121164-4-en

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Income and wealth are essential components of individual well-being. Income allows people to satisfy their needs and pursue many other goals that they deem important to their lives, while wealth makes it possible to sustain these choices over time. Both income and wealth enhance individuals’ freedom to choose the lives that they want to live, though there are some aspects of their lives that cannot be bought by money. This chapter presents a set of indicators that aims to provide a coherent, but non-exhaustive, picture of the economic conditions of people and households. The indicators measure the principal components that shape material conditions, their dynamics and how they are distributed within each country. This chapter finds that income and wealth have been substantially enhanced during the last fifteen years. However, this rise did not lift all boats: income inequality has been rising in many countries, and some groups have been left behind. This suggests that growth-oriented policies need to be designed to take into account distributional considerations.
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