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Society at a Glance 2019

OECD Social Indicators

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This report, the ninth edition of the biennial OECD overview of social indicators, addresses the growing demand for quantitative evidence on social well-being and its trends. This year’s edition presents 25 indicators, several of which are new, and includes data for 36 OECD member countries and, where available, key partners (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa) and other G20 countries (Argentina and Saudi Arabia).

The report features a special chapter on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people: their numbers, how they fare in terms of economic outcomes and well-being, and what policies can improve LGBT inclusivity. It also includes a special section based on the 2018 OECD Risks That Matter Survey on people’s perceptions of social and economic risks and the extent to which they think governments address those risks. In addition, the report provides a guide to help readers in understanding the structure of OECD social indicators.

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Perceptions of government effectiveness and fairness

OECD countries have some of the most comprehensive social protection systems in the world. They spend, on average, more than 20% of GDP on social policies delivering public health, housing and family services, old-age supports like public pensions, and income supports for people in need. Research on redistribution and poverty suggests that, in many cases, these social policies are effective. Yet, the Risks that Matter survey reveals widespread dissatisfaction with public policies: public programmes are not reaching all groups effectively and policies do not always correspond to needs and expectations.

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