The United Kingdom performs very well in overall subjective well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in several topics in the Better Life Index.

Having a good education is an important requisite to finding a job. In the United Kingdom, 70% of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma, close to the OECD average. As to the quality of its educational system, the average student scored 494 out of 600 in reading ability according to the latest PISA student-assessment programme, around the OECD average.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In the United Kingdom, the average household earned 27 208 USD in 2008, more than the OECD average.

In terms of employment, nearly 70% of people aged 15 to 64 in the United Kingdom have a paid job. People in the United Kingdom work 1646 hours a year, less than in other OECD countries. 67% of mothers are employed after their children begin school, suggesting that women are able to successfully balance family and career.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in the United Kingdom is 79.7 years, slightly above the OECD average. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 13 micrograms per cubic meter, and is lower than levels found in most OECD countries.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and low levels of civic participation in the United Kingdom. 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 61% during recent elections; this figure is lower than the OECD average of 72%. In regards to crime, only 2% of people reported falling victim to assault over the previous 12 months.

When asked, 68% of people in the United Kingdom said they were satisfied with their life, above the OECD average of 59%.

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