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How's Life? 2020

Measuring Well-being

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How’s Life? charts whether life is getting better for people in 37 OECD countries and 4 partner countries. This fifth edition presents the latest evidence from an updated set of over 80 indicators, covering current well-being outcomes, inequalities, and resources for future well-being. Since 2010, people’s well-being has improved in many respects, but progress has been slow or deteriorated in others, including how people connect with each other and their government. Large gaps by gender, age and education persist across most well-being outcomes. Generally, OECD countries that do better on average also feature greater equality between population groups and fewer people living in deprivation. Many OECD countries with poorer well-being in 2010 have since experienced the greatest gains. However, advances in current well-being have not always been matched by improvements in the resources that sustain well-being over time, with warning signs emerging across natural, human, economic and social capital. Beyond an overall analysis of well-being trends since 2010, this report explores in detail the 15 dimensions of the OECD Better Life Initiative, including health, subjective well-being, social connections, natural capital, and more, and looks at each country’s performance in dedicated country profiles.

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Economic Capital

Economic capital includes both produced (man-made) and financial assets. While the OECD average situation since 2010 has improved slightly for several (but not all) Economic Capital indicators, large disparities persist across OECD countries, and have in some cases widened. The OECD average stock of produced fixed assets increased by 11%, cumulatively, between 2010 and 2018, and intellectual property assets by 16%. However, annual growth in gross fixed capital formation in 2018 was lower than in 2010 for around one-third of OECD countries, and rates of R&D investment have only increased in around half. OECD countries’ net financial positions have diverged further since 2010, and the gap between the top and bottom OECD countries has widened for the financial net worth of the general government sector. Household debt levels across OECD countries range from 200% of disposable income to less than 50%.

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