Switzerland's residents are the most satisfied with their lives for the second consecutive year, according to the Better Life Index released last week. The study, published annually by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), reported that United States failed to crack the top 10 for the fourth consecutive year, while neighbors Mexico and Canada did.
The top 3:
■ Life satisfaction score: 7.6 (tied for 3rd)
■ Self-reported good health: 88% (3rd highest)
■ Employees working long hours: 4.0% (11th lowest)
■ Disposable income: $30,212 (7th highest)
■ Life expectancy: 81.0 years (17th highest)
Canada’s per capita disposable income exceeded $30,000, and the net financial wealth of its residents exceeded $63,000, both among the highest figures of any nation measured by the OECD. However, high income and wealth alone do not explain residents’ happiness. In fact, the U.S. outperformed Canada in both measures, yet ranked just 17th in life satisfaction. Notably, while just 90% of Americans said they had someone they could rely on in an emergency — a measure used by the OECD to gauge the quality of communities — in Canada 94% said they had such a person, among the most of any nation. Canadians were also more likely to be working, and less likely to be unemployed, than their counterparties in the U.S., which also may contribute to residents’ higher evaluations of their lives.
■ Life satisfaction score: 7.7
■ Self-reported good health: 73% (15th highest)
■ Employees working long hours: 3.1% (6th lowest)
■ Disposable income: $32,093 (3rd highest)
■ Life expectancy: 81.4 years (10th highest)
Norway’s unemployment rate was just 3.5% last year, less than half the OECD’s unemployment rate of 7.9%. Many workers were also paid quite well. Full-time Norwegian workers earned $46,618 annually on average in 2012, among the highest personal earnings among countries reviewed. Much of the country’s wealth comes from energy sectors. Norway’s economy relies heavily on its oil industry, and it is one of the largest oil producers in Europe. Like nearly all countries with residents who rate their lives well, Norway’s environmental quality is good. As many as 96% of respondents said they were satisfied with the quality of their water, nearly the most among nations measured by the OECD.
■ Life satisfaction score: 7.8
■ Self-reported good health: 81% (7th highest)
■ Employees working long hours: 7.3% (17th highest)
■ Disposable income: $30,745 (5th highest)
Life expectancy: 82.8 years (the highest)
For the second consecutive year, Switzerland ranked higher than any other country in the life satisfaction score. Few countries rated higher than the small Alpine nation in measures of wealth. Per capita, Swiss residents had $30,745 in household disposable income and net financial wealth exceeding $100,000 per capita. Jobs were also relatively abundant, with 79% of the working-age population employed, the second highest percentage of any country reviewed by the OECD. Residents were also more likely to feel secure in their jobs than people in any other nation considered. In addition to being wealthy and secure in their employment, residents were extraordinarily healthy. The life expectancy for Swiss residents was 82.8 years, the highest of any country measured by the OECD. Additionally, 81% of residents felt they were in good health, well-above the 69% of people across the OECD.
God bless the USA, the greatest country on the planet. NOT!
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