Spain ranks low down in OECD’s Better Life Index

Nation 20th out of 36 countries examined

Spain performed badly in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s so-called Better Life Index, which seeks to provide a broader measurement of welfare than GDP.

Spain was placed 20th in the 36 countries analyzed in a table headed by Australia, Sweden and Canada. Those at the bottom of the classification were Turkey, Mexico and Chile.

The index comprises 11 factors that the OECD deems key to the quality of life. These include, among others, housing, income employment, education, the environment, health and work-life balance.

“Our Better Life Index goes beyond the cold, hard numbers of GDP to really get an understanding about what matters for people and about what they want and need out of their lives and their societies,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said.

Based on figures for 2012, or 2011 depending on the factor in question, Spain came out well in terms of work-life balance, with few people working more than 50 hours a week, with the number of hours dedicated to leisure and personal care (including sleep) amounting to close to 16 hours a day. It also got a high rating for health, given that life expectancy is over 82 years.

Understandably in a country with a current unemployment rate of 27.2 percent, Spain fared badly in terms of labor and was only ahead of Turkey and Mexico. In terms of income, Spaniards were slightly below the OECD average. It was, however, one of the least equal countries, with the top 20 percent of the population in terms of income earning six times more than the bottom fifth.

As regards education, only 53 percent of the population in Spain has a secondary school certificate, compared with the average in the OECD of 74 percent.

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