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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Work and life balance You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Pages :
123–143
DOI :
10.1787/9789264121164-8-en

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The ability to combine work, family commitments and personal life is important for the wellbeing of all household members. It is also important for society as a whole, as it ensures that people have sufficient time to socialise and participate in the life of the community. This chapter presents a selection of indicators that describe the distribution of people’s time between paid work, time with family, commuting, leisure and personal care. The balance of work and non-work activities has changed considerably in recent decades, with overall gains in leisure and reductions in hours worked. However, these trends conceal the increased complexity of people’s lives, with both men and women taking on a wider variety of tasks in the workplace and at home. The distribution of tasks within the family is still influenced by gender roles: men are more likely to work longer hours of paid work, while women spend longer hours in unpaid domestic work. While gender imbalances are shaped by culture, policy makers can help to address the issue by encouraging supportive and flexible working practices, thereby making it easier for parents to strike a better balance between work and home life.
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