Well-Being beyond GDP Growth
Despite the economic growth and prosperity brought by industrialization, concerns have emerged that macroeconomic statistics, such as GDP, may not fully reflect people’s current and future living conditions. The relevance of these figures as measures of people’s well-being and societal progress has been cast into doubt. Recognizing this collective concern, the OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy was launched in 2004 to draw more attention to the need for better measures and policies for well-being and societal progress. The forum is known to have helped shape the ongoing paradigm shift to emphasize people’s well-being as the ultimate focus for policies. The Government of Korea hosted the Third and the Sixth OECD World Fora in 2009 and 2018, respectively, to contribute to the dialogue.
In 2011, the OECD Better Life Initiative was launched to develop better measures of people’s well-being and build a better evidence base for policy. As a core part of the initiative, the biennial publication How’s Life? series provides a comprehensive view of well-being in OECD countries and other major economies. In addition, the OECD Better Life Index, first released in 2011, enables citizens to compare well-being across countries based on 11 essential topics dealing with material living conditions and quality of life, including housing, jobs, work-life balance, income, health, safety, education, community, civic engagement, environment and life satisfaction.
The OECD Better Life Initiative has been deepening and advancing the statistical and policy research agenda on well-being through various streams of research and an ongoing work program. The OECD Better Life Index particularly contributes to revealing a quantitative analysis of quality of life with multi-dimensional aspects. OECD work on well-being helps policy-makers understand the driving factors of people’s well-being and identify necessary policy actions to achieve greater progress for all.
[The Better Life Index online platform: www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org ]