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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 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 25 908 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 65%, and one of the lowest figures in the OECD. Some 69% of men are in paid work, compared with 30% of women. In Turkey,around 41% of employees work very long hours, the highest rate in the OECD where the average is 13%. About 45% of men work very long hours compared with 31% for women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Turkey, 34% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, much lower than the OECD average of 75% and the lowest rate among OECD countries. This is truer of men than women, as 38% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 29% 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 75 years, five years lower than the OECD average of 80 years, and one of the lowest in the OECD. 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 in large urban areas, 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 62% 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 88%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 88% 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 89% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 84%, 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 5.6 grade, one of the lowest scores in the OECD, where average life satisfaction is of 6.6.

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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