From National Journal:

Money is important, but it isn’t everything. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development created the Your Better Life Index to compare the quality of life as well as economic prowess of its 34 member countries. The index measures each country using 11 different lines, including income, employment, health, education, environmental quality, and its citizens’ opinions about life satisfaction, work-life balance, and a sense of community. Because people have different priorities, the OECD index allows them to rank countries according to their own values. The United States remains at the top for income and wealth, but it lags behind as a place to live a long and happy life.

Source: National Journal

Category: Economy, Taxes and Policy, Wages & Income

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

15 Responses to “Nations Ranked by Quality of Life”

  1. A says:

    Interesting: all the wealth, all the power, and yet there isn’t a great deal of joy in life in America…and it’s not even a safe place to be.

    Go figure.

  2. chartist says:

    Just back from a whirl wind tour of South America and Japan in back to back weeks (something I don’t recommend). America no. 2 in wealth, I have no doubt about this. South America seems to lack a middle class. America’s opportunity rank is too low, imo. I think education is the wrong metric: many bartenders with degrees. America’s economy is huge and dynamic but you have to go to the work, It won’t come to you. America’s middling joy of life is probably true. But the difference between 5th place and 17th doesn’t look that great. My guess is legacy sexual repression. Safety in Japan is true, they just follow the rules. But consumers in Japan need to follow caveat emptor. I found a fairly wide variance between advertised product and reality.

  3. BennyProfane says:


    Iceland (Iceland??) beats us in job opportunities? Ireland (!!) beats us in “joy of life’?? Have these people been to Ireland in the last five years? Hell, even before that. Hey, I’m half Irish, so I know of the misery of Irish Catholic guilt. And, well, ahem, the Irish curse. And, to even think of Israel as “safe” is absurd. They’re within missile range of more than one madman who could vaporize most of their society in an afternoon.

    Who writes these things?

    • ottnott says:

      “And, to even think of Israel as “safe” is absurd. They’re within missile range of more than one madman who could vaporize most of their society in an afternoon.”

      I agree that it is absurd that we rank lower in safety than Israel does, but I don’t view it the fault of those doing the ranking.

      Israelis probably feel less safe than we do, but the safety ranking is based on actual violence rather than potential. The US likely feels so much safer to readers of The Big Picture because so much of the violence in the US is concentrated in poor urban areas.

      South America is a model the US could trends toward if wealth and income distribution continues to shift so much toward the top. We are a long way from that model now, but we are moving in the wrong direction. I believe that ACA health insurance is a small step against the trend, because it mostly eliminates one of the ways in which middle class families become economically devastated and drop out of the middle class.

    • Crocodile Chuck says:

      What madman?



      • BennyProfane says:

        Well, in case you haven’t noticed, Syria is an awful mess these days, with radicals so hell bent that even the old school (!) Al Queda leadership has disavowed them. Now, if Assad goes down and one of those guys are suddenly in charge, lookout below……..and then, of course, there’s Iran. There’s some in leadership there who really really hate the thought of Israel existing. Should I continue?

  4. cschene says:

    I actually believed all that “the US is great” propaganda until I visited the rest of the world. By that time my life was very well established with children and one grandchild so emigrating was not an option but I advise my children to leave the US and move to the EU or Canada.

    We do have more freedom’s of some kinds in the US granted by our constitution that other countries do not have but we are also an oppressive security and police state that handles wealth with kid gloves but abuses its poor.

  5. CSF says:

    Here’s the link to rank your own priorities and see the results:

  6. just-sayin says:

    I think these graphics show it all.
    Money does not buy happiness. The U.S. could truly be the greatest
    country on earth if they realized a little compassion and humility (e.g. Canada)
    mixed in with Capitalism makes for a happier life.
    As a Canadian I’m Just Sayin’

  7. Moss says:

    Turkey sure does not look very appetizing.

    • ami_in_deutschland says:

      I can only speak from the perspective of a tourist (two summer vacations spent there), but Turkey is undergoing a very rapid transformation into a modern state and already seems to provide a pretty good quality of life for at least part of its population. Of course, at the moment the government looks like it’s doing its “best” to put an end to all the progress, but if Turkey can ultimately continue towards democratic government and an egalitarian society, I think we’ll see it moving up the ratings scale over the coming decades.

      Certainly their cuisine is already extremely appetizing.

  8. 873450 says:

    Opportunity? Joy? Safety?
    Being exceptional means we don’t have to care about that stuff or what foreigners think about us.
    Besides, we have more guns than all of them put together.

  9. Beleck says:

    proof that money can’t buy happiness. the old truism remains. money buys lots of things, like health care, which we Americans can’t afford. what an odd situation.

    oh the Rich have money, that’s right!

  10. Concerned Neighbour says:

    Statistically rigorous studies have shown that beyond a certain level of financial well-being, money does not buy further happiness. What good is more money if you never have the time to enjoy it, the environment is poisoned due to unregulated economic “growth”, or you’re under constant stress of losing your job or going bankrupt due to an unforeseen illness, etc. There are clear reasons why those commie leninist socialist leftist countries are happier.

  11. RC says:

    If we fix this ridiculous healthcare related scare that everyone is forced to live with then there wouldnt be any country that comes close to the USA.
    - Most dynamic economy.
    - Most freedom
    - Stuff works (as opposed to the UK)
    - Folks can afford all kinds of stuff
    - If you are suffering with some sort of rare disease than you would not want to be anywhere but here. Most cutting edge treatments available as part of trials/studies