Better Life Index

Better Life Index

The OECD Better Life Index, in May 2011 by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development following a decade of work on this issue, is a first attempt to bring together internationally comparable measures of well-being in line with the recommendations of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress also known as the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission. The recommendations made by this Commission sought to address concerns that standard macroeconomic statistics like GDP failed to give a true account of people’s current and future well-being.

There are 11 areas that comprise the BLI rating factors: Housing, Income, Jobs, Community, Education, Environment, Civic Engagement, Health, Life satisfaction, safety & work-Life Balance

The specific elements within the above areas are: Dwellings without basic facilities, Housing Expenditures, Persons per room, Household net adjusted disposable income, Household net worth, Labor market insecurity, Employment rate, Long-term unemployment rate, Personal earnings, quality of support network, Educational attainment, Student skills, Years in education, Air pollution, Water quality, Stakeholder engagement for developing regulations, Voter turnout, Life expectancy, Self-reported health, Life satisfaction, Feeling safe walking alone at night, Homicide rate, Employees working very long hours & time devoted to leisure and personal care.

The USA still ranks in the top 10 (we are 10th) on the better life index. At one time I suspect we were at the top or very near the top. We have been slowly slipping, primarily replaced by EU countries. The top 20 can be seen below.

1 Norway
2  Australia
3  Iceland
4  Canada
5  Denmark
6   Switzerland
7  Netherlands
8  Sweden
9  Finland
10  United States
11  Luxembourg
12  New Zealand
13  Belgium
14  United Kingdom
15  Germany
16  Ireland
17  Austria
18  France
19  Spain
20  Slovenia

Another view of the Success of countries is the Quality of Life Index. It is a bit more basic, but still considers many important factors and demonstrates the high ratings of many of the EU countries as can be seen below:

RankCountryQuality of Life IndexPurchasing Power IndexSafety IndexHealth Care IndexCost of Living IndexProperty Price to Income RatioTraffic Commute Time IndexPollution IndexClimate Index
9New Zealand185.6101.160.573.672.68.331.222.795.5
13United States179.2122.052.969.469.93.632.934.077.5
17United Kingdom170.8105.757.374.765.39.234.639.487.8
20United Arab Emirates167.8119.683.768.056.24.437.553.145.2