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Your better life trends

The OECD’s Your Better Life Index, launched at the 50th anniversary OECD Forum on 24 May, lets users from the general public weigh up the factors (initially from a list of 11) they feel matter most in assessing their well-being.

Though just a few months old, a few clear trends are starting to emerge from the half-million or so visits the index has notched up. First, “life satisfaction” is currently the most highly rated topic for most people, regardless of their country of origin, followed by “education” and “health”. At the other end of the scale, “community” and “income” rank among the least important issues so far, with the very lowest rank afforded to “governance”.

The reasons behind these rankings are still being investigated, and these preferences could change over time. The “jobs” factor, for instance, could slip back if the economic recovery gathers pace. Still, “life satisfaction” and “health” are timeless human priorities and may not shift much.

So, which countries perform best against the most popular factors as chosen by our users? For “life satisfaction”, the top two countries are Denmark and Canada, for “education”, Finland and Korea do well, and for health, Switzerland and Austria show up top. And if you happen to choose “governance” as your top quality of life indicator, then Australia and New Zealand come up top. More trends in the months ahead at www.oecd.org/statistics/ factblog and www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org.

See also “Better measures for better lives” at www.oecdobserver.org.

©OECD Observer No 285 Q2 2011