Satisfaction with services

Public services such as health care, education and justice were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The way schools, courts and hospitals operate – the frontline institutions where people have a direct experience of public services – changed dramatically in most countries due to lockdown restrictions. Teachers, physicians and judges switched to working remotely overnight while health care systems worldwide were put under stress due to the extent of the health crisis.

Most OECD countries have surveys to monitor users’ satisfaction with services, although they may cover different services and questions. The Gallup World Poll regularly collects data on citizens’ satisfaction with a range of public services worldwide. Although there are many contextual and cultural factors that can influence responses to opinion polls, the dataset allows citizens’ perceptions to be compared over time and across OECD countries.

Satisfaction with health care averaged 71% across OECD countries in 2020, similar to 2010 levels. There are wide variations between countries, with citizens in Norway (93%), Belgium and the Netherlands (both 92%) being the most satisfied, while those in Poland (26%), Greece (38%) and Chile (39%) were the least. Finland had the largest increase in satisfaction with health care over that period (19 p.p.) while Estonia (17 p.p.) and Israel (12 p.p.) also had large increases. In comparison, Poland experienced the largest decline (22 p.p.) in satisfaction with health care (Figure 14.1).

On average, 68% of citizens in OECD countries reported being satisfied with the education system in 2020, a 1 p.p. increase since 2010. Norway (92%), Finland (87%) and Slovenia (86%) had the highest satisfaction levels and Turkey (27%), Greece (36%) and Chile (43%) the lowest. Estonia (16 p.p.) experienced the largest increase in satisfaction with education since 2010, due to efforts to increase the uptake of digital education, which facilitated the transition to online learning at the beginning of the pandemic (OECD, 2020a). Slovenia (15 p.p.) and Norway (14 p.p.) also had large increases in satisfaction, while Turkey had the largest decline, of 35 p.p. from 2010 (Figure 14.2). Not all students in Turkey had the same opportunities for remote learning during the pandemic: on average, in normal times, schools had only one computer for every four students, and a large proportion of students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds did not have access to a computer at home (OECD, 2020b).

Confidence in the judiciary reached 57% on average across the OECD in 2020, which represents a 6 p.p. increase since 2010. Lithuania (35 p.p.) experienced the largest increases in confidence in the judiciary from 2010. The country has the shortest disposition times for civil and commercial cases (see the two-pager “Timeliness of civil justice systems”). Portugal (23 p.p.) and the Czech Republic (21 p.p.) also had large increases in confidence in the judiciary. Turkey saw the largest decrease in confidence in the judiciary (22 p.p.), followed by Chile (19 p.p.) (Figure 14.3).

Further reading

OECD/European Union (2020), Health at a Glance: Europe 2020: State of Health in the EU Cycle, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2020a), “Education Policy Outlook in Estonia”, OECD Education Policy Perspectives, No. 13, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2020b), PISA 2018 Results (Volume V): Effective Policies, Successful Schools, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Figure notes

Data for Estonia are for 2011 instead of 2010. Data for Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are for 2012 instead of 2010. Data for the Czech Republic are for 2018 instead of 2020. Data for Costa Rica, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Romania are for 2019 instead of 2020.

G.40. (Citizen confidence in the police, 2010 and 2020) is available online in Annex G.

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