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indicator value unit
Population 73.9 mil.
Visitors per year 28.6 mil.
Renewable energy 10.57 %

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 and 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 household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is lower than the OECD average of 23 938 USD a year.

In terms of employment, 49% of people aged 15 to 64 in Turkey have a paid job, less than the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 69% of men are in paid work, compared with 29% of women. People in Turkey work 1 855 hours a year, more than the OECD average of 1 765 hours. Around 43% of employees work very long hours, much higher than the OECD average of 9%, with 47% of men working very long hours compared with 33% for women.

Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Turkey, 32% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, much lower than the OECD average of 75% and the lowest rate amongst OECD countries. This is truer of men than women, as 36% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 27% of women. This difference is larger 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 462 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 16 points, more than the average OECD gap of 8 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Turkey is 75 years, five 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 35.1 micrograms per cubic meter, considerably higher than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Turkey also performs below the OECD average in terms of water quality, as 60% 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 moderate sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Turkey, where 79% 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 public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 88% during recent elections; this figure is higher than the OECD average of 72%. Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 89% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 84%, a much narrower gap than the OECD average gap of 11 percentage points, suggesting there is broad social inclusion in Turkey’s democratic institutions. 

In general, Turks are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 61% 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 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: Turkey 2014

ECD's 2014 Economic Survey of Turkey examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. The special chapter looks at structural change in the business sector.

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Turkey in Detail