Did You Know?
Turkey has made considerable progress in improving the quality of life of its citizens over the last two decades. Notwithstanding, Turkey ranks low in a large number of topics relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index.
Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Turkey, the average person earns less than the OECD average of 22 387 USD a year. There is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn eight times as much as the bottom 20%.
In terms of employment, 46% of people aged 15 to 64 in Turkey have a paid job, lower than the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 67% of men are in paid work, compared with 26% of women. People in Turkey work 1877 hours a year, more than most people in the OECD who work 1749 hours. 43% of employees work very long hours, much higher than the OECD average of 9%, with 49% of men working very long hours compared with 34% for women.
Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Turkey, 33% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, much lower than the OECD average of 74%. This is truer of men than women, as 35% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 26% of women. This difference is higher than the OECD average and suggests women’s participation in higher education could be strengthened. In terms of the quality of the educational system, the average student scored 455 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 Turkey, girls outperformed boys by 15 points, more than the average OECD gap of 9 points.
In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Turkey is 74 years, six years lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 77 years, compared with 72 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs –is 37 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably higher than the OECD average of 22 micrograms per cubic meter. Turkey also performs below the OECD average in terms of water quality, as 65% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, below the OECD average of 85%.
Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Turkey, where 69% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, less than the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 83% during recent elections; this figure is higher than the OECD average of 73%.
In general, Turks are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 68% 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 much lower than the OECD average of 80%.