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13.01.21 | 2 min

Switzerland shines with excellent quality of life

The OECD’s Better Life Index provides information on how selected countries are doing in terms of quality of life. Switzerland scores well both in the quality check and in a country comparison. In particular, it achieves top scores in the areas of employment, income, security and life satisfaction.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international association of countries that work together to implement projects for better political solutions in areas such as prosperity, justice or equal opportunities. The OECD has 37 member states, including not only Switzerland but also the neighboring countries of Germany, Austria, France and Italy, all the Scandinavian countries, the Benelux countries and countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan.

Better Life Index – 11 topics in focus
Since 2011, the OECD’s Better Life Index has measured the quality of life in 40 countries based on the following 11 topics:

  • Housing (housing expenditure, basic facilities, rooms per person)
  • Income (net household income, net financial assets)
  • Jobs (Employment rate, long-term unemployment, average earnings, job security)
  • Community (social support network)
  • Education (years in education, educational attainment, student’s skills)
  • Environment (air quality, water quality)
  • Civic Engagement (voter turnout, participation in legislative process)
  • Health (life expectancy, self-reported health)
  • Life Satisfaction
  • Safety (perception of safety, homicide rate)
  • Work-Life Balance (working time/leisure time ratio, reconciling of work and family life)

A wide range of statistics and study results have been incorporated into the assessment of how the individual countries implement these topics. Which topics are perceived as important in the individual countries, however, is judged by website visitors who fill out the index for their country at their own discretion. For this reason, the Better Life Index does not produce annual rankings. The data entered is measured continuously and is linked to the interactive participation of the website visitors. Therefore, the results are not statistically representative, but they do provide a revealing picture of the mood. It is interesting to see how Switzerland fares in this cross-comparison and in which topics it achieves above-average, even outstanding results.

Above average in 10 out of 11 topics – the Swiss quality check
Switzerland shows itself from the best side in the Better Life Index. It performs above average in no fewer than 10 out of 11 topics. The most important results on individual topics can be summarized as follows:

  • Jobs: Switzerland has the second-highest employment rate in the OECD area, behind Iceland. How the labor market distortions caused by the Corona pandemic will play out remains to be seen. What can already be said: All OECD countries are affected.
  • Income: At USD 37,466, the average net household income of the Swiss is significantly higher than the OECD average (USD 33,604).
  • Safety: 85.3% of people in Switzerland feel safe. Given the OECD average of only 68.4%, this value is very high.
  • Life satisfaction: It is considered the most important issue among the Swiss population. On a scale of 0 to 10, it is rated at 7.5, while the figure for the other OECD countries combined is 6.5.
  • Education: The level of education in Switzerland is impressive. 88% of 25- to 64-year-olds have at least an upper-secondary level qualification – compared with 79% in the OECD region.
  • Health: It is also a valuable commodity in Switzerland. This is reflected in life expectancy, which at 86 years for women and 82 years for men is one of the highest in the OECD region.
  • The only blemish, the low rating for the topic of civic engagement, must be viewed in a differentiated manner. The decisive factor for the below-average result is the low level of participation in elections. Unlike in the other OECD countries, Swiss citizens are called to the polls several times a year for elections and votes. This habit results in a certain laxity. In many OECD countries, the rare opportunity to participate in elections and votes is gladly taken when it is possible.

Excellent overall result
In the overall assessment excluding the topic of “civic engagement”, Switzerland ranks second in the Better Life Index (Source: OECD, 2021).

If all topics are rated as highly urgent, the result is a ranking that summarizes the overall implementation quality of all topics. In this cross-country comparison, Switzerland finishes in 6th place. Excluding the topic of “civic engagement”, Switzerland climbs to 2nd place behind leader Norway. Depending on which topics are prioritized in an assessment, Switzerland even climbs to the top of the podium. Put it to the test: www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org