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OECD Factbook 2008

Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics

image of OECD Factbook 2008
OECD Factbook 2008 is the fourth edition of a comprehensive and dynamic statistical annual from the OECD. More than 100 indicators cover a wide range of areas: economy, agriculture, education, energy, environment, foreign aid, health and quality of life, industry, information and communications, population/labour force, trade and investment, taxation, public expenditure and R&D. This year, the OECD Factbook features a focus chapter on productivity. Data are provided for all OECD member countries with area totals, and in some cases, for selected non-member economies. For each indicator, there is a two-page spread. A text page includes a short introduction followed by a detailed definition of the indicator, comments on comparability of the data, an assessment of long-term trends related to the indicator, and a list of references for further information on the indicator. The next page contains a table and a graph providing - at a glance - the key message conveyed by the data. A dynamic link (StatLink) is provided for each table directing the user to a web page where the corresponding data are available in Excel® format.

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Life expectancy

Life expectancy at birth remains one of the most frequently quoted indicators of health status. Gains in life expectancy in OECD countries in recent decades, reflecting sharp reductions in mortality rates, can be attributed to a number of factors, including rising living standards, improved lifestyle and better education, as well as greater access to quality health services. Other factors, such as better nutrition, sanitation and housing also played a role, particularly in countries with developing economies. It is difficult to estimate the relative contribution of the numerous non-medical and medical factors that might affect variations in life expectancy over time and across countries. Higher national income (as measured by GDP per capita) is generally associated with higher life expectancy at birth across OECD countries, although the relationship is less pronounced at higher levels of income.

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