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indicator value unit
Population 60.3 mil.
Visitors per year 73.2 mil.
Renewable energy 9.70 %

How’s Life?

Italy performs well in many measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks close to the average in several topics in the Better Life Index.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Italy, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is 24 724 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 close to six times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, 58% of people aged 15 to 64 in Italy have a paid job, below the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 68% of men are in paid work, compared with 48% of women. This suggests that women encounter difficulties in balancing work and family life. People in Italy work 1 752 hours a year, lower than the OECD average of 1 765 hours. Another key measure, however, is how many people work very long hours. Almost 4% of employees work very long hours, less than the OECD average of 9%, with 5% 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 Italy, 56% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, below the OECD average of 75%. There is little difference between men and women, as 55% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 57% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 490 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), higher than the OECD average of 497. On average in Italy, girls outperformed boys by 6 points, less than average OECD gender gap of 8 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Italy is almost 83 years, three years higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 85 years, compared with 80 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 20.6 micrograms per cubic meter, slightly higher than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Italy could do better in terms of water quality, as 80% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, below the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Italy, where 91% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, more the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 75% during recent elections; higher than the OECD average of 72%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 85% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 73%, a slightly larger difference than the OECD average gap of 11 percentage points.

In general, Italians are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 75% 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 slightly lower than the OECD average of 76%.

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: Italy 2013

OECD's 2013 Economic Survey of Italy examines recent economic developments, policy and prospects. Its special chapter examines policy implemention: legislation, public administration and rule of law.

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Italy in Detail