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indicator value unit
Population 5.6 mil.
Visitors per year 4.4 mil.
Renewable energy 20.14 %

How’s Life?

Denmark 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 Denmark, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 24 682 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 four times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, over 73% of people aged 15 to 64 in Denmark have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 76% of men are in paid work, compared with 70% of women. People in Denmark work 1 522 hours a year, less than the OECD average of 1 776 hours. Some 2% of employees work very long hours, much lower than the OECD average of 9%, with 3% of men working very long hours compared with just 1% for women.

Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Denmark, 76% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, slightly higher than the OECD average of 74%. This is slightly truer of men than women, as 77% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 75% of women. In terms of education quality, the average student scored 499 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is slightly higher than the OECD average of 497. There is no difference between girls and boys, in contrast to an OECD average difference of 9 points in favour of girls.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Denmark is 80 years, in line with the OECD average. Life expectancy for women is 82 years, compared with 78 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 16 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably lower than the OECD average of 21 micrograms per cubic meter. Denmark also does well in terms of water quality, as 94% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, more than the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Denmark, 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 88% during recent elections; considerably higher than the OECD average of 72%. Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is 90% and for the bottom 20% it is 86%, a much smaller gap than the OECD average gap of 12 percentage points.

In Denmark, 89% of people 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). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 80%.

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OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Denmark 2013

Denmark scores highly on many dimensions of well-being. Nevertheless, weakproductivity growth over the past two decades has contributed to a widening of the income gap vis-à-vis leading OECD economies. Renewing with stronger productivity growth over the longer run is an overarching challenge for Denmark and calls for keeping up structural reform efforts.

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Denmark in Detail