According to a report just released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Australia is the happiest country to call home in the developed world for the third straight year, besting other nations renowned for contentment, such as Canada and Sweden. Factors like work-life balance, income, housing and overall satisfaction were weighed in making the Better Life Index, which ranks 36 countries.
There are good reasons for Australia’s repeat win. For one, it has weathered the global recession notably well. As of 2012, the economy Down Under has maintained a growth rate of around 3.5 percent. Natural resources are another arrow in its economic quiver. Its proximity to Asia, particularly China, where demand for resources is surging, has been a boon for the nation.
It turns out that Aussies have a lot to be thankful for in employment terms as well. Of the nation’s population from the ages of 15 to 64, 73 percent have jobs (the OECD average is 66 percent). Further, disposable income is $26,242, against an OECD average of $23,047. Life expectancy figures are also encouraging at 82 years (compared to an OECD average of 80 years).Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
When combined – plentiful opportunities, ample incomes, longevity – this adds up to a slightly more nebulous quotient for “satisfaction”. The global average level of satisfaction is 80 percent, compared with Australia’s 84 percent. It’s worth noting that this is still below levels in Mexico, Norway and New Zealand.
Trailing close on Australia’s heels are Sweden, Canada, Norway and Switzerland, while the other Asia-Pacific nations in the list include Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, which all fall in the mid-levels.
Ultimately, happiness is a slippery quality to boil down to a metric. But many have tried using a variety of factors, as the Huffington Post notes. Other attempts to gauge life satisfaction include the sustainability-minded Happy Planet Index, which puts Costa Rica at the head of the global pack, and the Gallup list, which puts Denmark at the head (and has Australia outside the top five).