New Zealand scores well on the OCED’s Better Life Index which ranks countries on quality of life factors including education, health, housing and income.
The commentary for New Zealand says:
New Zealand performs exceptionally well in overall well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.
Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In New-Zealand, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 21 892 USD a year, less than the OECD average of 23 047 USD a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn five times as much as the bottom 20%.
In terms of employment, 73% of people aged 15 to 64 in New-Zealand have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 78% of men are in paid work, compared with 67% of women. People in New-Zealand work 1 762 hours a year, slightly less than the OECD average of 1 776 hours. Around 13% of employees work very long hours, more than the OECD average of 9%, with 20% of men working very long hours compared with 6% for women.
Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In New-Zealand, 73% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, close to the OECD average of 74%. This is slightly truer of men than women, as 74% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 72% of women. New-Zealand is a top-performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system. The average student scored 524 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 497, making New-Zealand one of the strongest OECD countries in students’ skills. On average in New-Zealand, girls outperformed boys by 15 points, higher than the average OECD gap of 9 points.
In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in New-Zealand is 81 years, one year higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 83 years, compared with 79 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs –is 12 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably lower than the OECD average of 21 micrograms per cubic meter. New-Zealand also does well in terms of water quality, as 88% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, higher than the 84% OECD average.
Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in New-Zealand, where 93% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 90%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 74% during recent elections, higher than the OECD average of 72%. Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 81%, whereas the participation rate of the bottom 20% is an estimated 75%. This 6 percentage point difference is lower than the OECD average difference of 12 percentage points, and suggests there is broad social inclusion in New Zealand’s democratic institutions.
In general, 83% of people in New-Zealand say they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc), more than OECD average of 80%.