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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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Executive summary

What makes for a good life? While the richness of human experience cannot be captured in numbers alone, it is important that the statistics shaping public policy reflect both people’s material living conditions, and the quality of their lives. This includes how life is changing over time, how lives differ across different population groups, and whether today’s well-being is achieved at the cost of depleting resources for the future. This fourth edition of How’s Life? aims to meet this need, providing a picture of people’s well-being in OECD and partner countries.

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