Life Satisfaction


Measuring feelings can be very subjective, but is nonetheless a useful complement to more objective data when comparing quality of life across countries. Subjective data can provide a personal evaluation of an individual’s health, education, income, personal fulfilment and social conditions. Surveys, in particular, are used to measure life satisfaction and happiness.

Life satisfaction

Life satisfaction measures how people evaluate their life as a whole rather than their current feelings. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, people across the OECD gave it a 6.6 grade. Life satisfaction is not evenly shared across the OECD however. Some countries – Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Turkey – have a relatively low level of overall life satisfaction, with average scores of less than 5.6. At the other end of the scale, scores reach 7.5 in Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland. There is almost no difference in life satisfaction levels between men and women across OECD countries. However, when looking at people’s education level,  there is a clear difference:  whereas people who have only completed primary education across OECD countries have a life satisfaction level of 5.9, this score reaches 7 for people with tertiary education.

Life Satisfaction in Detail by Country