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indicator value unit
Population 9.9 mil.
Visitors per year 21.1 mil.
Renewable energy 8 %

How’s Life?

Hungary performs well in only a few measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index. Hungary ranks above the average in work-life balance, and personal security. It ranks below average in social connections, income and wealth, housing, jobs and earnings, subjective well-being, and health status.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Hungary, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 15 442 a year, less than the OECD average of USD 25 908 a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population close to five times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, around 58% of people aged 15 to 64 in Hungary have a paid job, below the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 64% of men are in paid work, compared with 53% of women.  Around 3% of employees work very long hours, much lower than the OECD average of 13%, with 5% of men working very long hours compared with just 2% for women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Hungary, 82% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, higher than the OECD average of 75%. Around 85% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 80% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system the average student scored 487 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), lower than the OECD average of 497. On average in Hungary, girls outperformed boys by 9 points, slightly more than the average OECD gap of 8 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Hungary is 75 years, five years lower than the OECD average of 80 years, and one of the lowest in the OECD. Life expectancy for women is 79 years, compared with 72 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 in large urban areas, considerably lower than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Hungary could perform better in terms of water quality, as 77% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, lower than the OECD average of 81%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Hungary, where 87% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, slightly lower than the OECD average of 88%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 62% during recent elections, below the OECD average of 68%. Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 70% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 51%, wider than the average OECD difference of 13 percentage points, and points to shortcomings in the political mobilisation of the worst-off.

In general, Hungarians 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, Hungarians gave it a 4.9 grade, one of the lowest scores in the OECD, where average life satisfaction is 6.6.

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: Hungary 2014

OECD's 2014 Economic Survey of Hungary examines recent economic developments, prospects and policies with special chapters on enhancing competition and tackling labour mismatches.

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