International Comparisons - Better Life Index measures for OECD countries 2012–2015



Household net adjusted disposable income (US dollars at current PPPs per capita)
It's the maximum amount that a household can afford to consume without having to reduce its assets or to increase its liabilities. It's obtained, as defined by the System of National Accounts – SNA, adding to people’s gross income (earnings, self-employment and capital income, as well as current monetary transfers received from other sectors) the social transfers in-kind that households receive from governments (such as education and health care services), and then subtracting the taxes on income and wealth, the social security contributions paid by households as well as the depreciation of capital goods consumed by households.

Household net financial wealth (US dollars at current PPPs per capita)
Net financial wealth consists of: currency and deposits, securities other than share, loans, shares and other equity (including shares issued by investment funds), insurance technical reserves, and other accounts receivable or payable, net of household financial liabilities, as defined by the System of National Accounts – SNA.

Employment rate (Percentage of the working-age population (aged 15-64))
It is the number of employed persons aged 15 to 64 over the population of the same age. Employed people are those aged 15 or more who report that they have worked in gainful employment for at least one hour in the previous week, as defined by the International Labour Organization – ILO.

Long term unemployment rate (Percentage of the labour force)
This indicator refers to the number of persons who have been unemployed for one year or more as a percentage of the labour force (the sum of employed and unemployed persons). Unemployed persons are defined as those who are currently not working but are willing to do so and actively searching for work.

Average gross annual earnings of full-time employees/ Personal earnings (US dollars at current prices)
This indicator refers to the average annual wages per full-time equivalent dependent employee, which are obtained by dividing the national-accounts-based total wage bill (Wages and salaries – SNA D11) by
the average number of employees in the total economy, which is then multiplied by the ratio of average usual weekly hours per full-time employee to average usually weekly hours for all employees (sourced from the Labour Force Suveys). It considers the employees’ gross remuneration, that is, the total before any deductions are made by the employer in respect of taxes, contributions of employees to social security and pension schemes, life insurance premiums, union dues and other obligations of employees.

Labour market insecurity (Percentage of previous earnings)
This indicator is defined in terms of the expected earnings loss associated with unemployment. This loss depends on the risk of becoming unemployed, the expected duration of unemployment and the degree of mitigation against these losses provided by government transfers to the unemployed (effective insurance).

Number of rooms per person (Rate (number of rooms divided by the number of people living in the dwelling))
This indicator refers to the number of rooms (excluding kitchenette, scullery/utility room, bathroom, toilet, garage, consulting rooms, office, shop) in a dwelling divided by the number of persons living in the dwelling.

Dwellings without basic facilities (Percentage of the population)
This indicator refers to the percentage of the population living in a dwelling without indoor flushing toilet for the sole use of the household. Flushing toilets outside the dwelling are not to be considered in this item. Flushing toilets in a room where there is also a shower unit or a bath are also counted.

Housing expenditure (Percentage of the household gross adjusted disposable income)
This indicator considers the expenditure of households in housing and maintenance of the house, as defined in the SNA (P31CP040: Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels; P31CP050:
Furnishings, households’ equipment and routine maintenance of the house). It includes actual and imputed rentals for housing, expenditure in maintenance and repair of the dwelling (including miscellaneous services), in water supply, electricity, gas and other fuels, as well as the expenditure in furniture and furnishings and households equipment, and goods and services for routine maintenance of the house as a percentage of the household gross adjusted disposable income.

Life expectancy at birth (Number of years)
Life expectancy measures how long on average people could expect to live based on the age-specific death rates currently prevailing. This measure refers to people born today and is computed as a weighted average of life expectancy for men and women.

Self-reported health status (Percentage of the population)
This indicator refers to the percentage of the population aged 15 years old and over who report “good” or better health. The WHO recommends using a standard health interview survey to measure it, phrasing the question as “How is your health in general?” with response scale “It is very good/ good/ fair/ bad/ very bad”.

Employees working very long hours (Percentage of the dependent employed)
This indicator measures the proportion of dependent employed whose usual hours of work per week are 50 hours or more.

Time devoted to leisure and personal care (hours/minutes)
This indicator measures the amount of hours (minutes) per day that, on average, full-time employed people spend on leisure and on personal care activities. Leisure includes a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities such as walking and hiking, sports, entertainment and cultural activities, socializing with friends and family, volunteering, taking a nap, playing games, watching television, using computers, recreational gardening, etc. Personal care activities include sleeping (but not taking a nap), eating and drinking, and other household or medical or personal services (hygiene, visits to the doctor, hairdresser,
etc.) consumed by the respondent. Travel time related to personal care is also included.

Educational attainment (Percentage of the adult population (aged 25 to 64))
Educational attainment considers the number of adults aged 25 to 64 holding at least an upper secondary degree over the population of the same age, as defined by the ISCED classification.

Students’ cognitive skills (Average PISA scores)
Students’ average score in reading, mathematics and science as assessed by the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Expected years in education (Number of years)
This indicator is the average duration of education in which a 5 year old child can expect to enrol during his/her lifetime until the age of 39. It is calculated under the current enrolment conditions by adding the net enrolment rates for each single year of age from the age of five onwards.

Social network support (Percentage of people aged 15 and over)
It's a measure of perceived social network support. The indicator is based on the question: “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?” and it considers the respondents who respond positively.

Stakeholder engagement for developing regulations
This indicator describes the extent to which formal stakeholder engagement is built in the development of primary laws and subordinate regulations. The indicator is calculated as the simple average of two composite indicators (covering respectively primary laws and subordinate regulations) that measure four aspects of stakeholder engagement , namely i) systematic adoption (of formal stakeholder engagement requirements); ii) methodology of consultation and stakeholder engagements; iii), transparency of public consultation processes and open government practices; and iv) oversight and quality control that refers to existence of oversight bodies and publicly available information on the results of stakeholder engagement. The maximum score for each of the four dimensions/categories is one and the maximum aggregate score for the composite indicator is then four. The stakeholder engagement indicator has been computed based on responses to the 2014 OECD’s regulatory indicators survey, where respondents were government officials in OECD countries.

Voter turnout (Percentage of the population)
Voter turnout is here defined as the ratio between the number of individuals that cast a ballot during an election (whether this vote is valid or not) to the population registered to vote. As institutional features of voting systems vary a lot across countries and across types of elections, the indicator refers to the elections (parliamentary or presidential) that have attracted the largest number of voters in each country.

Air pollution (Micrograms per cubic meter)
The indicator is the population weighted average of annual concentrations of particulate matters less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) in the air.

Satisfaction with water quality (Percentage of people aged 15 and over)
The indicator captures people's subjective appreciation of the environment where they live, in particular the quality of the water. It is based on the question: "In the city or area where you live, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the quality of water?"and it considers people who responded they are satisfied.

Homicides rates (Age-standardised rate per 100,000 population)
Deaths due to assault.

Feeling safe walking alone at night (Percentage of people aged 15 and over)
The indicator is based on the question: "Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?" and it shows people declaring they feel safe.

Life satisfaction (Mean value (Cantril Ladder))
The indicator considers people's evaluation of their life as a whole. It is a weighted-sum of different response categories based on people's rates of their current life relative to the best and worst possible 8 lives for them on a scale from 0 to 10, using the Cantril Ladder (known also as the "Self-Anchoring Striving Scale")

Data calculation/treatment

For some indicators, the dataset includes the breakdown by sex (Men vs Women) and by socio-economic inequality variable (High vs Low). For the latter, the definition changes according to the indicator. Please refer to for details.

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Limitations of the data

Reference years are the most recently available and are the most common on for each indicator. Data for some countries may be from a different year. Please refer to for details.

Data provided by


Dataset name

OECD Better Life Index 2016


How to find the data

Data is displayed at URL provided. To download, select Export > Text file CSV.

Import & extraction details

File as imported: OECD Better Life Index 2016

From the dataset OECD Better Life Index 2016, this data was extracted:

  • Rows: 2-3,539
  • Column: 15
  • Provided: 3,538 data points

Dataset originally released on:

June 2016

Purpose of collection

Your Better Life Index aims to involve citizens in the debate on measuring the well-being of societies, and to empower them to become more informed and engaged in the policy-making process that shapes all our lives. Each of the 11 topics of the Index is currently based on one to three indicators. Within each topic, the indicators are averaged with equal weights. The indicators have been chosen on the basis of a number of statistical criteria such as relevance (face-validity, depth, policy relevance) and data quality (predictive validity, coverage, timeliness, cross-country comparability etc.) and in consultation with OECD member countries. These indicators are good measures of the concepts of well-being, in particular in the context of a country comparative exercise. Other indicators will gradually be added to each topic