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indicator value unit
Population 81.8 mil.
Visitors per year 26.9 mil.
Renewable energy 10.01 %

How’s Life?

Germany performs very well in many measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top ten countries in several topics in the Better Life Index.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Germany, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 28 799 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 more than four times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, some 73% of people aged 15 to 64 in Germany have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 77% of men are in paid work, compared with 68% of women. People in Germany work 1 413 hours a year, less than the OECD average of 1 776 hours. Some 5% of employees work very long hours, lower than the OECD average of 9%, with 8% 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 Germany, 86% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, more than the OECD average of 74%. This is truer of men than women, as 88% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 83% of women. Germany is a top-performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system. The average student scored 510 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 Germany one of the strongest OECD countries in students’ skills. On average in Germany, girls outperformed boys by 6 points, lower than the average OECD gap of 9 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Germany is almost 81 years, one year higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 83 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. Germany also does well in terms of water quality, as 93% 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 Germany, 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 71% during recent elections, close to the OECD average of 72%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is 80% and for the bottom 20% it is 59%, much broader than the OECD average gap of 12 percentage points and suggesting there is room for broader social inclusion in Germany’s democratic institutions

In general, Germans are as satisfied with their lives as other OECD citizens, with 81% 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), close to  the OECD average of 80%.


OECD in Action

Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Germany 2013

Recent reforms have put Germany among the OECD countries with the fewest restrictions on labour migration for highly-skilled occupations, yet inflows continue to be relatively low. The review examines key issues in the design of the German labour migration system, on the demand side and on the supply side.

Read this report

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Germany in Detail