Better Life Initiative

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The OECD Better Life Initiative, launched in May 2011 on the occasion of the OECD 50th Anniversary, brings together several strands of the OECD’s work on measuring well-being and progress. The Initiative aims to promote “Better Policies for Better Lives”, in line with the OECD’s overarching mission. This initiative includes: How’s Life? and its research agenda, Your Better Life Index and Events.


The Better Life Initiative is based on the OECD Framework for analysing well-being and societal progress shown below. The Framework looks at people’s material conditions and quality of life in eleven dimensions: income and wealth, jobs and earnings, housing conditions, health status, work and life balance, education and skills, social connections, civic engagement and governance, environmental quality, personal security and subjective well-being. Critical features of this framework are its focus on individuals’ and households’ outcomes (rather than drivers and inputs) and on both objective and subjective aspects of well-being.

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How’s Life? and its research agenda

The “How’s Life?” Report, released for the on 12 October 2011 by the OECD gathers and analyses indicators on the well-being of individuals and households to deepen the analysis of the drivers of well-being. It is structured along the dimensions identified by the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission, and focuses on both average conditions of households and specific population groups in OECD and selected non-OECD countries.See here for the full Report.

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The Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being, released on 20 March 2013, represent the first attempt to provide international recommendations on collecting, publishing, and analysing subjective well-being data. The Guidelines also outline why measures of subjective well-being are relevant for monitoring and policy making, and why national statistical agencies have a critical role to play in enhancing the usefulness of existing measures. The Guidelines include a number of prototype survey modules on subjective well-being that national and international agencies can use in their surveys.

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Your Better Life Index

Your Better Life Index allows you to visualise well-being outcomes in OECD countries; it is an interactive tool through which you can look at how countries perform according to the importance you give to the various components of well-being. You are also able to compare well-being inequalities between men and women.

Visitors to Your Better Life Index are able to compare their well-being priorities to those of other users by country, age and gender, and share their results. The Index is available in French and Russian and is embeddable for websites and blogs.


The OECD is continuing the dialogue with developing and emerging countries through regional conferences and the OECD World Fora on “Statistics, Knowledge and Policy”. These events aim to deepen on-going reflection on how to measure well-being and the progress of societies and establish frameworks for future work.

Highlights and conclusions from the 4th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy: Measuring Well-Being for Development and Policy Making which took place in Delhi, India in October 2012 are now available.

Video: Measuring Progress: How’s Life?

What well-being and sustainability measures are needed to go “Beyond GDP”?

Interview with OECD Chief Statistician Martine Durand on the BLI

See also

External links

Read more on the initiative here.