Did You Know?
Spain performs favourably in several measures of well-being, and ranks close to the average or higher in several topics in the Better Life Index.
Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Spain, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 22 847 USD a year, slightly 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 more than six times as much as the bottom 20%.
In terms of employment, around 58% of people aged 15 to 64 in Spain have a paid job, below the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 64% of men are in paid work, compared with 53% of women. People in Spain work 1 690 hours a year, less than the OECD average of 1 776 hours. Only 6% of employees work very long hours, less than the OECD average of 9%, with 9% of men working very long hours compared with just 4% for women.
Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Spain, 53% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, lower than the OECD average of 74%. This is slightly truer of women than men, as 52% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 54% of women. In terms of the quality of the educational system, the average student scored 484 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 Spain, girls and boys performed equally, compared with an average OECD gap of 9 points in favour of girls.
In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Spain is 82 years, two years higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 85 years, compared with 79 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 25 micrograms per cubic meter, higher than the OECD average of 21 micrograms per cubic meter. Spain 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 moderate levels of civic participation in Spain, where 93% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 90%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 69% during recent elections; this figure is slightly lower than the OECD average of 72%. There is little difference in voting levels across society; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is 76% and for the bottom 20% it is 66%, a slightly narrower gap than the OECD average gap of 12 percentage points.
In general, 73% of people in Spain say 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), less than the OECD average of 80%.