Subjective well-being in Australia: When asked, 75% of people in Australia said they were satisfied with their life, much higher than the OECD average of 59%.

Australia performs exceptionally well in measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index. Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Australia, the average household earned 27 039 USD in 2008, more than the OECD average.

In terms of employment, nearly 72% of people aged 15 to 64 in Australia have a paid job. People in Australia work 1690 hours a year, less than most people in the OECD. 71% of mothers are employed after their children begin school, suggesting that women are able to successfully balance family and career.

Having a good education is an important requisite to finding a job. In Australia, 70% of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma, only slightly lower than the OECD average. Australia is a top-performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system. The average student scored 515 out of 600 in reading ability according to the latest PISA student-assessment programme, higher than the OECD average.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Australia is 81.5 years, more than two years above the OECD average. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 14 micrograms per cubic meter, and is much lower than levels found in most OECD countries.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Australia. 95% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, higher than the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 95% during recent elections; this figure is the highest in the OECD. In regards to crime, only 2% of people reported falling victim to assault over the previous 12 months.

For a full report, please visit: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/