Measuring well-being means looking at multidimensional development outcomes at the national and regional level from the perspective of people (individuals and households) rather than indicators of economic growth alone. This requires taking into account a broader range of metrics than have traditionally been used to monitor national progress, describing people’s current material conditions and quality of life, the distribution of outcomes across population groups and locations, and the systemic resources that are needed to underpin the sustainability of people’s well-being into the future.

This report, How’s Life in Latin America? Measuring well-being for policy making, is the result of a three-year project led by the OECD Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity and the OECD Development Centre. This project has aimed to identify comparable metrics for monitoring multidimensional well-being across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), to highlight areas for improvement in data collection and coverage, and to explore the policy use of well-being frameworks in LAC countries. The report is based on an adapted version of the OECD Well-being Framework, reflecting the priorities of the LAC region, particularly in the context of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It has been produced in the framework of the European Union’s Regional Facility for Development in Transition for Latin America and the Caribbean, which results from joint work led by the EU, the OECD, and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Taking a more comprehensive and people-focused approach to measuring development is particularly relevant in the LAC region, where inequalities and other structural challenges persist despite many countries achieving high- or upper middle-income status in recent decades, highlighting the importance of the Development in Transition approach. The upheaval that the region has experienced since the project began in 2018 – with the wave of social protests that emerged in late 2019, and swiftly followed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 – further underlines the need for a broader view of progress that puts people’s well-being at the centre of policy making and international cooperation in order to “build forward better”.

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