Australia the 'lucky country' for a better life: survey

Australia the 'lucky country' for a better life: survey
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 6:28am

Australia named the world's happiest industrialized nation, according to the OECD

Australia has been named the world's happiest industrialized nation for the third year running, based on criteria including satisfaction, work-life balance, income and housing, a survey released Tuesday has found.

The so-called "lucky country" beat Sweden and Canada to take the top spot in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Better Life Index.

Australia has remained largely immune from the global financial crisis, with its economy growing on average 3.5% over the last 20 years to 2012, according to the CIA Factbook.

The economy of the natural resource-rich nation has been buoyed by strong demand from Asia and China, while its robust financial sector has helped combat the global downturn.

Such growth is in stark contrast to recessions which have gripped Europe and the U.S. since the financial crisis exploded in 2007.

Australia's employment levels, at 73% of those aged 15 to 64, are above the OECD average of 66%. Average household disposable income sits at $28,884, more than the OECD average of $23,047 and despite Australians working an average 83 hours less a year.

Life expectancy, at 82 years, is two years higher than the OECD average of 80 years and satisfaction, at 84%, is higher than the 80% global average.

In its report, the OECD said Australians felt "a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation," with 94% of people feeling like they knew someone to rely on should they need help.

Sweden came second in the survey, with the same life expectancy as Australia but a lower disposable income of $26,242. Employment for those aged between 15 and 64, sits at 74%, and in general, Swedes are "more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average," the survey found.

According to the report, 85% of people said they had more positive experiences on an average day, such as pride and enjoyment, than negatives ones such as pain or boredom.

Canada was ranked third, with 72% of those aged between 15 and 64 employed, and an average household disposable income of $28,194.

The OECD found the country has a strong sense of community but "only moderate levels" of civic participation.

All three top countries all had a considerable gap between the rich and the poor, however, with the top 20% of the population earning between four and six times as much as the bottom 20%.

The OECD creates the list using eleven criteria, including housing, education, health, income, and civic engagement.

The other countries to make it into the top ten of the Better Life index were, in order: Norway, Switzerland, U.S., Denmark, Netherlands, Iceland, and the United Kingdom.

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