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indicator value unit
Population 4.9 mil.
Visitors per year 2.5 mil.
Renewable energy 46.24 %

How’s Life?

Norway performs very well in many measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Norway, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is 32 093 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 four times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, over 76% of people aged 15 to 64 in Norway have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 78% of men are in paid work, compared with 74% of women. People in Norway work 1 420 hours a year, less than the OECD average of 1 765 hours. Only 3% of employees work very long hours, much 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 Norway, 82% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 75%. This is equally true of men and women. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 496 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), slightly lower than the OECD average of 497. On average in Norway, girls outperformed boys by 16 points, higher than the average OECD gap of 8 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Norway is 81 years, one year higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for men is 79 years, compared with 84 for women. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 16.1 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably lower than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Norway also does well in terms of water quality, as 96% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, compared with the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Norway, 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 78% 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 72%, a slightly broader gap than the OECD average gap of 11 percentage points.

In general, Norwegians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, 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.). This figure is higher 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: Norway 2014

This 2014 OECD Economic Survey of Norway examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. Special chapters cover real estate markets and financial risk and entrepreneurship.

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Norway in Detail