Every person aspires to a good life. But what does “a good or a better life” mean?
The second edition of How’s Life? provides an update on the most important
aspects that shape people’s lives and well-being: income, jobs, housing, health, work-life
balance, education, social connections, civic engagement and governance, environment,
personal security and subjective well-being. It paints a comprehensive picture of
well-being in OECD countries and other major economies, by looking at people’s material
living conditions and quality of life across the population. Through a wide range
of comparable well-being indicators, the report shows that countries perform differently
in the various dimensions of well-being. For instance, low-income countries in the
OECD area tend to do very well in subjective well-being and work-life balance, while
their level of material well-being is much lower than that of other OECD countries.
The report responds to the needs of citizens for better information on well-being
and the needs of policy makers to give a more accurate picture of societal progress.
In addition, the report contains in-depth studies of four key cross-cutting issues
in well-being that are particularly relevant. First, this report analyses how well-being
has changed during the global economic and financial crisis. Even though some effects
of the crisis may become visible only in the long-term, the report finds that the
Great Recession has large implications for both economic and non-economic well-being
of households. Secondly, the report looks at gender differences in well-being, showing
that the traditional gender gap in favour of men has reduced but has not disappeared.
It also finds that women and men do well in different areas of well-being and that
they are increasingly sharing tasks and roles. Third, it looks at the quality of employment
and well-being in the workplace. The report presents evidence on the main factors
that drive people’s commitment at work and are key to strengthening their capacity
to cope with demanding jobs. Finally, the last chapter of the report studies the links
between current and future well-being. It looks at ways to define and measure sustainability
of wellbeing over time.
How’s Life? is part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, launched by the
Organization on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary in 2011. The OECD Better Life
Initiative aims to promote “Better Policies for Better Lives”, in line with the OECD’s
overarching mission. One of the other pillars of the OECD Better Life Initiative is
the Better Life Index (www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org),
an interactive composite index of well-being that aims at involving citizens in the
debate on societal progress.