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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 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 per capita is 30 721 USD a year, more than the OECD average of 23 938 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 65%. Some 78% of men are in paid work, compared with 68% of women. People in Germany work 1 397 hours a year, less than the OECD average of 1 765 hours. Some 6% 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 75%. This is truer of men than women, as 89% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 84% of women. In terms of the quality of its educational system, the average student scored 515 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. On average in Germany, girls outperformed boys by 10 points, more than the average OECD gap of 8 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 15.6 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably lower than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Germany 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 moderate levels of civic participation in Germany, where 93% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 72% during recent elections, in line with the OECD average. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 81% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 59%, much broader than the OECD average gap of 11 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 76% 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.), in line with the OECD average.

For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.

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OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Germany 2014

OECD's 2014 Economic Survey of Germany examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. Special chapters cover strengthening financial sector resilience, raising the potential of the domestically oriented sector and making economic growth more socially inclusive.

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