New interactive tool shows which country offers a better life

LatinaLista — With all the griping that we may do about life in the United States, a new tool developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows exactly how the U.S. measures up to other developed nations — and how they measure up compared to the U.S.

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The Your Better Life Index allows people to compare their lives with people who live in 34 OECD member countries, based on 11 categories — housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance.

A small report card reveals how each country rates in each of the areas by breaking down each category into percentages.

For example, according to the index, US residents work more hours (1768 hours a year) than any other OECD country; have a higher average household income ($37,690 in 2008) than other OECD countries and 70 percent say they are satisfied with their lives in the US, 11 percent higher than citizens of other countries.

The only disappointing news is that life expectancy falls one year below the OECD average, at 77.9 years. Not surprising for a country that puts such a high premium on work.

Yet, why create such a tool? According to OECD developers:

There’s been a lot of debate lately on measuring the well-being of societies – is wealth all that matters, or should we be looking at other things, like the balance between work and the rest of our lives?

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.

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