How's Life? 2017

Measuring Well-being

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How’s Life? 2017 charts the promises and pitfalls for people’s well-being in 35 OECD countries and 6 partner countries. It presents the latest evidence from 50 indicators, covering both current well-being outcomes and resources for future well-being, and including changes since 2005. During this period there have been signs of progress, but gains in some aspects of life have been offset by losses elsewhere. This fourth edition highlights the many faces of inequality, showing that gaps in people’s achievements and opportunities extend right across the different dimensions of well-being. It exposes divisions according to age, gender, and education, and reveals pockets of inequality in all OECD countries. It also brings to light the many well-being disadvantages that migrants face in adapting to life abroad. Additionally, the report examines governance as seen from the citizen’s perspective, revealing gaps between public institutions and the people they serve. Finally, it provides a country-by-country perspective, pinpointing strengths, challenges and changes in well-being over time in 41 country profiles.

How’s Life? is part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, which features a range of studies and analysis about people’s well-being and how to measure it, and includes the interactive Better Life Index website.


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Editorial: Achieving Well-Being for All

Well-being cannot prosper in divided societies. Nearly ten years since the start of the global financial crisis, the world economy is regaining momentum. Yet the crisis has left behind scars of uncertainty about the future, and after a period of widening income inequalities, there is a sense of deepening divisions in several OECD countries. In particular, there is concern that the economic shifts in the last 30-40 years have left too many people behind. With the crisis as its backdrop, the “beyond GDP” movement has drawn attention to the limits of macroeconomic statistics in describing what matters most to the quality of people’s lives. This has encouraged us to ask both who and whataspects of life are missing from the traditional indicators that policy-makers most often use to guide their decisions. The OECD well-being framework and the statistics we have been compiling since 2011 offer a unique way to approach these issues directly, injecting some hard-won evidence into the heated debate on inclusiveness.

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