There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics. The trick is deciding what actually makes for a better life, and how to measure progress. Economic growth is not an end in itself – the point of growth is to deliver better lives for people across society. It was already becoming clear in the years before the crisis that GDP alone was not good enough– during the boom years inequality was widening in most OECD countries, and more money did not seem to be making people happier. But what else should we be measuring to get the full picture?
The OECD started looking at this question more than a decade ago and in 2011 introduced an internationally comparable set of well-being indicators (How's Life? report) and an interactive tool, the Better Life Index, which invites users to look at how their country measures up on the issues that matter to them, across a range of topics from clean air to education, from income to health.
But the work is on-going. Each year since its inauguration the underlying data in the Better Life Index is updated and innovations are made to enhance the content and accessibility of the site. In addition to English, users can now play with the site in French, German, Russian and Spanish. Last year we also updated the How’s Life? report finding that people’s life satisfaction has decreased particularly in countries hardest hit by the crisis and many of these same countries are also reporting decreases in trust of their governments. Finally, the report raised important questions about what makes for a quality job and how we all need to give greater thought to how we will sustain our current well-being for future generations.
Over 55,000 people have shared with us their views on what makes for a better life. Add your voice to the debate by going to www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org and sharing your index with us today!
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