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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Measuring inequalities in well-being

Describing how outcomes are distributed within societies is an essential part of measuring people’s well-being. While much of the recent debate on inequality focuses on income and wealth, inequality can touch every aspect of a person’s life. This chapter provides a framework and a set of indicators to assess inequalities across a wide variety of well-being domains, covering both material conditions and quality of life outcomes. Since there are several different ways to answer the question of “who gets what?” a number of different approaches to measuring inequalities are also presented. The analysis shows that inequalities in well-being are pervasive in all OECD countries: although some societies are more equal than others, no country “has it all”. The main steps necessary to improve the measurement of inequalities in well-being outcomes are also discussed.

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