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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 and below average in income and wealth, health status, social connections, education and skills, jobs and earnings, subjective well-being, environmental quality, work-life balance, and housing.

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 29 016 a year.

In terms of employment, 50% of people aged 15 to 64 in Turkey have a paid job, less than the OECD employment average of 66%, and one of the lowest figures in the OECD. Some 70% of men are in paid work, compared with 30% of women. In Turkey, around 39% of employees work very long hours, the highest rate in the OECD where the average is 13%. About 43% of men work very long hours compared with 31% of women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Turkey, 36% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, much lower than the OECD average of 76% and one of the lowest rates among OECD countries. This is truer of men than women, as 40% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 31% of women. 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 77 years, three years lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 79 years, compared with 74 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 17.2 micrograms per cubic meter, higher than the OECD average of 14.05 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 84% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, less than the OECD average of 88%. 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 68%. 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, one of the lowest scores in the OECD, where the average life satisfaction is 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