Quick Facts from the OECD Better Life Index

Population: 26 million

  • Ranks at the top in civic engagement and above the average in income and wealth, environmental quality, health status, housing, jobs and earnings, education and skills, subjective well-being, social connections and personal security.
  • Below average in work-life balance.
  • Average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita: USD $37,433/year, more than the OECD average of USD $30,490/year.
  • Considerable gap between the richest and poorest – top 20% of the population earn nearly six times as much as the bottom 20%.
  • Around 73% of people aged 15 to 64 in Australia have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. 77% of men are in paid work, compared with 69% of women. In Australia, 13% of employees work very long hours, above the OECD average of 10%, with 19% of men working very long hours compared with just 6% of women.
  • 84% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, higher than the OECD average of 79%. There is no difference between men and women in upper secondary education completion. In terms of the quality of its educational system, the average student scored 499 in reading literacy, math and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 488. On average in Australia, girls outperformed boys by 8 points, above the average OECD gap of 5 points.
  • Life expectancy at birth in Australia is around 83 years, two years higher than the OECD average of 81 years. Life expectancy for women is 85 years, 81 years for men.
  • Level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 6.7 micrograms per cubic meter, the lowest rate in the OECD where the average is 14 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Water quality: 92% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, higher than the OECD average of 84%.
  • Strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Australia, where 93% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, more than the OECD average of 91%.
  • Voter turnout: 92% during recent elections, one of the highest in the OECD, reflects the practice of compulsory voting in Australia. Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 95% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 89%, a much narrower difference than the OECD average gap of 13 percentage points.
  • General satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10: 7.1 grade on average, higher than the OECD average of 6.7.