Choose your own criteria about a “better life”


There have been so many controversial debates about which country is the one with the happiest people, the happiest children or where the well-being is higher rated. Often the criteria behind these measurings are very vague or inaccurate.

The Organistion for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, created an index which 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” because:

There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics

We all have different priorities and ideas about what would make our life better: a good education, clean air, a nice home, money?

The Index aims to involve citizens in this debate, and to empower them to become more informed and engaged in the policy-making process that shapes all our lives.


By rating eleven topics according to their importance to you, you can find out which country would offer you a better life.

[The] 11 topics reflect what the OECD has identified as essential to well-being in terms of material living conditions (housing, income, jobs) and quality of life (community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance).

By using composite indices this index can provide an easy-to-read overview of well-being patterns.

Each topic is built on one to four specific indicators: For example, the Jobs topic is based on four separate measures: the employment rate, personal earnings, the long-term unemployment rate and job security. For each indicator you can also compare results for men and women, and see how much your social and economic status affects results.

The interesting aspect of this index is, that if you would like to add a topic to the list, you can do so by contacting them  and submitting a request.

The countries analized on these topics are the 34 members of the OECD, plus key partners Brazil and Russia: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. – “Over time, the Index will expand to cover the OECD’s four other key partner countries: China, India, Indonesia and South Africa”.

On the homepage you can create your own “better life” index, choosing the criteria that are more important for you and your family. There is no #1 country! This index is designed in a way that everyone can investigate how “each of the 11 topics can contribute to well-being” by changing the ratings in the Your Better Life Index toolbar.

oecd better life photo

Photo by Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta

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