In Search of the Good Life

The Better Life Initiative was launched this week, which aims to measure aspects of success in a society besides its gross domestic product.   

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is a coalition of 34 countries whose mission is to provide “a forum in which leaders and policy makers can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems, and produces high-quality internationally comparable statistics used to understand what drives economic, social, and environmental change.”

One way it is working towards this mission is to identify the best way to measure the progress of societies–“moving beyond GDP and examining the areas that impact everyday people’s lives.” With this goal in mind, the OECD developed the Better Life Initiative.

The Better Life Initiative includes an interactive tool that allows users to see how countries were ranked by its own citizens according to 11 criteria: housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance. The ten countries with the best results for the work-life balance were:

10. France

9. Portugal

8. Germany

7. Sweden

6. Switzerland

5. Belgium

4. Findland

3. Netherlands

2. Norway

1. Denmark

To see how the United States ranked, and to customize the weight with which each criteria is given, visit