How is life 2013?

19 novembre 2013
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20131105-siamo-al-verde-660x370Many workers have lost their jobs since the start of the crisis in 2007 and many households have registered stagnating or declining levels of income and wealth.Today, there are nearly 16 million more unemployed people in the OECD area than before the crisis, and the number of people out of job for more than a year has reached 16.5 million. Meanwhile, between 2007 and 2010, relative income poverty rose in most OECD countries, especially among children and young people. Rising economic insecurity and financial strain have particularly hit low-income and low-educated households. Other aspects of people’s well-being have also evolved in a negative way during the crisis. Life satisfaction fell considerably in some of the countries most severely hit by the crisis, such as Greece, Italy, and Spain, and in these countries more people reported experiencing high levels of stress and worry. People’s confidence in institutions also dropped dramatically, indicating a lack of trust in governments’ ability to effectively address problems affecting their lives. Countries’ political capital has been severely undermined, as today only 40% of citizens in the OECD trust their national governments – the lowest level since 2006. And in countries most affected by the crisis, only between one and three citizens out of ten trust their governments, a ratio that has more than halved since the start of the crisis. CrisisReport2013_610In some countries, responses to the crisis went beyond public policy and also came from local communities, in the forms of higher interpersonal solidarity and different forms of civic participation. While people have found it more difficult to provide financial help, an increasing number report having provided other types of support to others, and having volunteered their time to help those in need in their community. Families have also been a source of support, both financial and in-kind, and have provided an important safety net, for instance to young people who had difficulty finding a job. Many people who had to leave their homes because they could no longer afford them also report having gone to live with relatives. In Europe, higher within-household solidarity also came from women as fewer of them lost their jobs than men. This resulted in an increased share of female breadwinner couples among dual-income couples. 8097654143_f1034dd1e2_oMeasuring the sustainability of well-being is key to ensure that improving well-being today will not undermine the well-being of people in the future. This is a particularly difficult task, however, as there are many things about the future that we cannot know today. But even if we cannot predict the future, we can measure some of the factors that are more or less likely to contribute to better lives in the future. This starts with monitoring the resources that generate well-being over time and are passed on to future generations. These resources can be grouped into four main types: economic, environmental, human and social. Significant efforts are still needed to develop a set of internationally comparable indicators for each type of capital, although metrics already exist for some of them (economic capital) and efforts are underway for others (environmental capital, human capital). Measuring the sustainability of well-being also requires assessing the distribution of these resources across the population and whether these resources are managed efficiently, with a particular focus on the risks that may weigh on them. How’s Life? 2013 from the OECD specifies the statistical agenda to move forward on these issues. Focusing on what matters to people, and improving existing metrics or developing new ones to measure well-being and progress, is the way ahead to achieve better lives, today and tomorrow. Read the Report.


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