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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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Social Capital

Social Capital is about the social norms, shared values and institutional arrangements that foster co-operation among population groups. Around one in six people in OECD countries volunteer at least once a month through formal organisations (such as charities). When people are asked about their trust on a scale from 0 (no trust) to 10 (complete trust), the average score for trust in others is 6.1, and 6.3 for trust in the police. Less than half of OECD populations (43%) trust their government. Governments score 2.2 (out of 4) for formally engaging citizens when developing laws. For perceived public sector corruption, on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), the average OECD country scores 67. Gender parity in politics has not yet been achieved: women hold just 28% of parliamentary seats. Compared to 2010, progress on Social Capital has been slow or stagnant for OECD countries on average.

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