Report Reveals Pockets of Inequality in all OECD Countries
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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The fourth edition of OECD'S ‘How’s Life?’ report highlights different aspects of inequality, showing that gaps in people’s achievements and opportunities extend across the different dimensions of well being.

The findings show that despite having higher rates of educational attainment than the generations before them, people under 25 are 60% more likely to be unemployed than the 25-54 age group and 20% less likely to vote than those aged over 55.

15 November 2017: A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds that, while some aspects of well being have improved since 2005, such as earnings and life expectancy, others have deteriorated, including job insecurity and voter turnout. The findings cover the 35 OECD countries and Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Lithuania, the Russian Federation and South Africa.

According to the fourth edition of OECD’s ‘How’s Life?’ report, average annual earnings rose by 7%, on average, life expectancy increased by two years, and more people now have jobs than in 2005. Despite these gains, job insecurity has risen by a third, voter turnout decreased, and the share of people who feel supported by friends and family has fallen by 3%. The publication shows that despite having higher rates of educational attainment than the generations before them, people under 25 are 60% more likely to be unemployed than the 25-54 age group, and 20% less likely to vote than those aged over 55.

Only 38% of people express confidence in their government.

Migrants are also a vulnerable group, with the median income of migrant households being 25% lower than that of native born households. According to the report, migrants are also less likely to report good health, to say they have someone to count on when in need, and to be satisfied with their lives than the native-born. Furthermore, they tend to live in inadequate housing, work anti-social hours and feel depressed. Overall, people’s trust in the institutions designed to serve them has fallen, the authors assert, with only 38% of people expressing confidence in their government, a drop of 4% since 2006.

The report highlights the different aspects of inequality, showing that gaps in people’s achievements and opportunities extend across the different dimensions of well being. The publication underscores divisions according to age, gender, and education, and reveals pockets of inequality in all OECD countries. It also provides a country-by-country perspective, focusing on strengths, challenges and changes in well being over time in 41 country profiles.

Introducing the report on 15 November 2017, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría noted the “urgent” need for policy makers to: find ways to engage effectively with all citizens; work to improve people’s well being and help restore their trust; and ensure that growth and development are inclusive “without leaving anyone behind.”

‘How’s Life?’ is part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, which was launched in 2011 to measure well being and progress beyond traditional metrics such as gross domestic product (GDP). Another component of the Initiative is the Better Life Index, which allows users to compare countries according to their own vision of what constitutes well-being. [Publication: ‘How’s Life?’] [OECD Press Release]

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