Did you know?

indicator value unit
Population 22.6 mil.
Visitors per year 5.9 mil.
Renewable energy 5.20 %

How’s Life?

Australia performs exceptionally well in measures of 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 Australia, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 28 884 USD a year, more 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 six times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, over 73% of people aged 15 to 64 in Australia have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 79% of men are in paid work, compared with 67% of women. People in Australia work 1 693 hours a year, less than most people in the OECD who work 1 776 hours. Almost 14% of employees work very long hours, much higher than the OECD average of 9%, with 21% of men working very long hours compared with just 6% for women.

Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Australia, 73% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, close to the OECD average of 74%. This is truer of men than women, as 76% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 71% of women. This difference is higher than the OECD average and suggests women’s participation in higher education could be strengthened. Australia is nonetheless a top-performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system. The average student scored 519 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 Australia one of the strongest OECD countries in students’ skills. On average in Australia, girls outperformed boys by 9 points, in line with the average OECD gap.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Australia is almost 82 years, two years higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 84 years, compared with 80 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 14 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably lower than the OECD average of 21 micrograms per cubic meter. Australia also does well in terms of water quality, as 91% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, higher than the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Australia, where 94% 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 93% during recent elections; this figure is the highest in the OECD where the average is 72%. There is little difference in voting levels across society; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is 94% and for the bottom 20% it is 92%, a much narrower difference than the OECD average gap of 12 percentage points and suggesting there is broad social inclusion in Australia’s democratic institutions

In general, Australians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 84% of people saying 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). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 80%.

Topics

OECD in Action

Employment and Skills Strategies in Australia

This report on local job creation builds on sub-national data analysis and consultations at the national level and with local stakeholders in two case study regions in Victoria and Queensland. It provides a comparative framework to understand the role of the local level in contributing to more and better quality jobs.

Read this report

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Australia in Detail