Did You Know?
Poland performs moderately well in overall measures of well-being, and ranks higher than average in some of the topics in the Better Life Index.
Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Poland, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 15 371 USD a year, less than the OECD average of 23 047 USD a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn nearly five times as much as the bottom 20%.
In terms of employment, around 60% of people aged 15 to 64 in Poland have a paid job, less than the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 66% of men are in paid work, compared with 53% of women. People in Poland work 1 937 hours a year, more than most people in the OECD who work 1 776 hours. Approximately 7% of employees work very long hours, slightly less than the OECD average of 9%, with 11% of men working very long hours compared with just 3% for women.
Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Poland, 89% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 74%. This is equally true of men and women. In terms of the quality of the educational system, the average student scored 501 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 Poland, girls outperformed boys by 18 points, higher than the average OECD gap of 9 points.
In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Poland is 77 years, three years below the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 81 years, compared with 73 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs –is 34 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably higher than the OECD average of 21 micrograms per cubic meter. Poland also performs below the OECD average in terms of water quality, as 79% 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 a moderate level of civic participation in Poland, where 91% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, slightly more than the OECD average of 90%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 55% during recent elections; this figure is one of the lowest in the OECD where average participation is of 72%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is 68% and for the bottom 20% it is 43%, broader than the OECD average gap of 12 percentage points and suggesting there is room for broader social inclusion in Poland’s democratic institutions
In general, Poles are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 83% 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), more than the OECD average of 80%.