THE UNITED Kingdom has fallen three places in the life satisfaction rankings of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since its last analysis in 2011, according to a report released yesterday.
In its Better Life Index, the OECD published the figures for 2013, ranking countries on diverse metrics, ranging from employment and income to environmental quality and leisure concerns. In 2011, the UK came in 15th place with a mark of seven out of 10 for life satisfaction, but fell to 18th with and a score of 6.8 this year.
There have been previous attempts to measure national satisfaction, or happiness. Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested the need for alternative measures of wellbeing to be considered along with gross domestic product (GDP) since becoming leader of the Conservative party in 2005, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently launching its own measure.
In 2012, ONS conducted its own survey on life satisfaction in the UK, finding a higher level than the OECD, at 7.4 out of 10.
The UK managed a higher rank in terms of income when the OECD measured household earnings after tax, coming in at seventh place.
The US had the highest average income, while well-satisfied Mexico sat at the lower end of the table.
Mexico and Belgium both jumped ahead of the UK in this year’s OECD rankings. Despite its economic challenges, Ireland outperformed the UK in both reports.
Countries in northern Europe performed well in the rankings in both 2011 and 2013, with Sweden, Norway and Denmark all appearing in the top six places in each year.
Hungary, Portugal and Greece, countries that have suffered most from protracted economic malaise in Europe, were at the bottom end of the scale, registering the lowest levels life satisfaction in the group of relatively advanced economies.
The OECD is today expected to publish its growth forecasts for the troubled Eurozone.