Did You Know?
Finland performs very well in many 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 Finland, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 25 739 USD a year, slightly 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 almost four times as much as the bottom 20%.
In terms of employment, 69% of people aged 15 to 64 in Finland have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 71% of men are in paid work, compared with 68% of women. People in Finland work 1 684 hours a year, less than the OECD average of 1 776 hours. Some 4% of employees work very long hours, much lower than the OECD average of 9%, with 6% of men working very long hours compared with just 2% for women.
Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Finland, 83% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 74%. This is truer of women than of men, as 81% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 85% of women. Finland is a top-performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system. The average student scored 543 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is the highest in the OECD, where the average is 497. On average in Finland, girls outperformed boys by 23 points, considerably more than the average OECD gap of 9 points.
In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Finland is almost 81 years, one year higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 84 years, compared with 77 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs –is 15 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably lower than the OECD average of 21 micrograms per cubic meter. Finland also does well in terms of water quality, as 92% 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 moderate levels of civic participation in Finland, where 92% 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 69% during recent elections; slightly below the OECD average of 72%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is 74% and for the bottom 20% it is 61%, slightly broader than the OECD average gap of 12 percentage points.
In general, Finns are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 82% 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%.