United States

Population: 311.6 million

  • Ranks at the top in housing . and ranks above the average in income and wealth, health status, jobs and earnings, education and skills, personal security, subjective well-being, environmental quality, social connections, and civic engagement.
  • Ranks below average in work-life balance.
  • Average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 45,284 a year, much higher than the OECD average of USD 33,604 a year, and the highest figure in the OECD. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn nearly nine times as much as the bottom 20%.
  • 70% of people aged 15 to 64 in the United States have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 68%. Some 75% of men are in paid work, compared with 65% of women. In the United States, some 11% of employees work very long hours, in line with the OECD average, with 15% of men working very long hours compared with 7% of women.
  • 91% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, much higher than the OECD average of 78%. This is slightly truer of women than men, as 90% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 91% of women. In terms of the quality of the educational system, the average student scored 488 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), slightly higher than the OECD average of 486. On average in the United States, girls outperformed boys by 1 points, slightly less than the average OECD gap of 2 points.
  • Life expectancy at birth in the United States is almost 79 years, one year lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 81 years, compared with 76 for men.
  • Level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 10.1 micrograms per cubic meter, lower than the OECD average of 13.9 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Water quality: 83% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, higher than the OECD average of 81%.
  • Strong sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in the United States, where 91% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need,  higher than the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 65% during recent elections, slightly lower than the OECD average of 68%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 73% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 52%, much broader than the OECD average gap of 13 percentage points, and points to shortcomings in the political mobilization of the worst-off.
  • General satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10: 6.9 grade on average, higher than the OECD average of 6.5.