A Closer Look

OECD / How’s life? The Better Life Index gives answers


There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics – This Index allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life.

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For over fifty years, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has helped governments design better policies for better lives for their citizens. It provides a forum in which leaders and policy makers can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems, and produces high-quality internationally comparable statistics used to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change.

Ever since the OECD started out in 1961, GDP has been the main factor by which it has measured and understood economic and social progress. But it has failed to capture many of the factors that influence people’s lives, such as security, leisure, income distribution and a clean environment.

Is life really getting better? How can we tell? What are the key ingredients to improving life – is it better education, environment, healthcare, housing, or working hours? Does progress mean the same thing to all people or in all countries and societies?

A pioneer in this emerging field of research, the OECD has been working for almost ten years to identify the best way to measure the progress of societies – moving beyond GDP and examining the areas that impact everyday people’s lives. Today, the fruit of this work is manifested in the OECD Better Life Initiative.


The OECD Better Life Initiative allows a better understanding of what drives the well-being of people and nations and what needs to be done to achieve greater progress for all. Drawing upon the recommendations of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (to which the OECD has been an important contributor), the OECD has identified 11 dimensions as being essential to well-being, from health and education to local environment, personal security and overall satisfaction with life, as well as more traditional measures such as income. These 11 dimensions are explored and analysed in detail in the How’s Life report, the first attempt at an international level to present the best set of comparable and comprehensive well-being indicators.

At the same time, the OECD has created the “Your Better Life Index” to support policy making to improve the quality of life.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at 


via OECD Better Life Index.



  1. Pingback: How’s Life? at a Glance | OECD READ edition « Dr Alf's Blog - November 17, 2013

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