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indicator value unit
Population 60.6 mil.
Visitors per year 76.3 mil.
Renewable energy 13.2 %

How’s Life?

Italy performs well across a number of  of well-being dimensions relative to other countries in the Better Life Index. Italy outperforms the average in health, work-life balance and civic engagement. It underperforms average in income, employment, education, environmental quality, social connections and life satisfaction. These assessments are based on available selected data.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Italy, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 29 431 a year, slightly lower than the OECD average of USD 30 490 a year.

In terms of employment, about 58% of people aged 15 to 64 in Italy have a paid job, below the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 67% of men are in paid work, compared with 49% of women. In Italy, 3% of employees work very long hours in paid work, below the OECD average of 10%, with 4% of men working very long hours in paid work compared with 2% of women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Italy, 63% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, lower than the OECD average of 79%. However, completion varies between men and women, as 61% of men have successfully completed high school compared with 65% of women. In terms of the quality of the education system, the average student scored 477 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is lower than the OECD average of 488. On average in Italy, girls outperformed boys by 2 points, well below the average OECD gap of 5 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Italy is around 84 years, three years higher than the OECD average of 81 years. Life expectancy for women is 86 years, compared with 81 for men. The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 15.9 micrograms per cubic meter, above the OECD average of 14 micrograms per cubic meter. In Italy, 77% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, lower than the OECD average of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Italy, where 89% 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 citizens' participation in the political process, was 73% during recent elections, higher than the OECD average of 69%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 82% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 62%.

When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Italians gave it a 6.5 grade on average, lower than the OECD average of 6.7.


For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.


OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys: Italy

OECD’s periodic surveys of the Italian economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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Italy in Detail