Korea Scores Low on OECD Happiness Index

      May 26, 2011 13:53

      Korean people work 2,256 hours on average per year, and 79 percent of the adults have at least high school diplomas. The average household disposable income was US$16,254 as of 2008, and only 36 percent of the people are satisfied with their current life.

      As a result Korea ranked 26th among 34 OECD member countries in the Better Life Index the world organization released on Tuesday to mark its 50th anniversary. The index is compiled based on 11 categories such as housing, jobs, income and education.

      Australia topped the list followed by Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, the U.S. and Norway. Korea's neighbor Japan was placed 19th.

      Korea scored high in education, safety, and jobs but was in the bottom group in work-life balance, housing, and income. Koreans worked 517 hours more than the OECD average of 1,739 hours. They also had a higher educational level compared to the OECD average of 73 percent of adults with at least a high school diploma.

      The OECD average for satisfaction with life was 59 percent. Northern European countries ranked high in the category, with 91 percent in the Netherlands, 90 percent in Denmark and 86 percent in Finland saying they like their life. In Japan, only 40 percent said they are happy.

      "Since the OECD started out in 1961, GDP has been the main factor by which it has measured and understood economic and social progress. But it has failed to capture many of the factors that influence people's lives, such as security, leisure, income distribution and a clean environment," the OECD said in the report. "A pioneer in this emerging field of research, the OECD has been working for almost 10 years to identify the best way to measure the progress of societies -- moving beyond GDP and examining the areas that impact everyday people's lives."

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