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indicator value unit
Population 76.1 mil.
Visitors per year 37.7 mil.
Renewable energy 10.2 %

How’s Life?

Turkey has made considerable progress in improving the quality of life of its citizens over the last two decades. Notwithstanding, Turkey performs well in only a few measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index. Turkey ranks above the average in civic engagement. It ranks below average in income and wealth, health status, social connections, education and skills, jobs and earnings, subjective well-being, environmental quality, work-life balance, housing andpersonal security. These rankings are based on available selected data.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Turkey, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is lower than the OECD average of USD 30 563 a year.

In terms of employment, 51% of people aged 15 to 64 in Turkey have a paid job, belowthe OECD employment average of 67%, and one of the lowest figures in the OECD. Some 70% of men are in paid work, compared with 31% of women. In Turkey, almost 34% of employees work very long hours, the highest rate in the OECD where the average is 13%. About 37% of men work very long hours compared with 26% of women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Turkey, 39% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, much lower than the OECD average of 74% and one of the lowest rates among OECD countries. This is truer of men than women, as 43% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 34% of women. In terms of the quality of the educational system, the average student scored 425 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), lower than the OECD average of 486. On average in Turkey, girls outperformed boys by 9 points, more than the average OECD gap of 2 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Turkey is 78 years, two years lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 81 years, compared with 75 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 20.0 micrograms per cubic meter, much higher than the OECD average of 13.9 micrograms per cubic meter. Turkey also performs below the OECD average in terms of water quality, as only 63% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, below the OECD average of 81%, and the lowest rate in the OECD.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Turkey, where 86% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, less than the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens' participation in the political process, was 85% during recent elections. This figure is higher than the OECD average of 69% and reflects the practice of compulsory voting in Turkey. Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 87% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 82%, a much narrower gap than the OECD average gap of 13 percentage points, and suggests there is broad social inclusion in Turkey's democratic institutions. 

In general, Turks 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, Turkish people gave it a 5.5 grade on average, much lower than the OECD average of 6.5.

For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.


OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Turkey 2016

This 2016 OECD Economic Survey of Turkey examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. The special chapters cover: Strengthening manufacturing and Participating in global value chains.

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Turkey in Detail