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indicator value unit
Population 10.5 mil.
Visitors per year 15.0 mil.
Renewable energy 6.03 %

How’s Life?

Greece performs well in only a few measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index. Greece ranks above the average in work-life balance, health status, but below average in income and wealth, civic engagement, housing, environmental quality, subjective well-being, social connections, personal security, education and skills, and jobs and earnings. These rankings are based on available selected data.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Greece, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 17 700 a year, much lower than the OECD average of USD 33 604 a year. There is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn more than six times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, about 54% of people aged 15 to 64 in Greece have a paid job, below the OECD employment average of 68%, and the lowest figure in the OECD. Some 63% of men are in paid work, compared with 44% of women. Some 6% of employees work very long hours, less than the OECD average of 11%, with 8% of men working very long hours compared with 4% of women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Greece, 73% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, less than the OECD average of 78%. This is truer of women than men, as 72% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 74% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 458 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is lower than the OECD average of 486. On average in Greece, girls outperformed boys by 15 points, much more than the average OECD gap of 2 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Greece is almost 82 years, two years higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 84 years, compared with 79 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 17.5 micrograms per cubic meter, higher than the OECD average of 13.9 micrograms per cubic meter. Greece also performs below the OECD average in terms of water quality, as 68% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, below the OECD average of 81%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Greece, where 80% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, less than the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens' participation in the political process, was 64% during recent elections, lower than the OECD average of 68%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 67% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 55%, slightly narrower than the OECD average gap of 13 percentage points.

In general, Greeks are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Greeks gave it a 5.4 grade on average, one of the lowest scores in the OECD, where average life satisfaction is 6.5. 

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: Greece 2016

This 2016 OECD Economic Survey of Greece examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. The special chapters cover: Structural reforms for inclusive growth and Boosting exports.

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Greece in Detail