Subjective well-being in United States: 70% of people in the United States said they were satisfied with their life, well above the OECD average of 59%.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in the United States is 77.9 years, more than one year below the OECD average. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 19 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 high levels of civic participation in the United States. 92% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, just above the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 90% during recent elections; this figure is also higher than the OECD average of 72%. In regards to crime, only 2% of people reported falling victim to assault over the previous 12 months.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In the United States, the average household earned 37 690 USD in 2008, much more than the OECD average.

In terms of employment, nearly 67% of people aged 15 to 64 in the United States have a paid job. People in the United States work 1768 hours a year, more than in other OECD countries. 73% 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 the United States, 89% of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma, higher than the OECD average. As to the quality of its educational system, the average student scored 500 out of 600 in reading ability according to the latest PISA student-assessment programme, slightly higher than the OECD average.

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