Lifestyle & Belief

Australia ranked best country by most OECD measures, index shows


Coen, age 8, tries to befriend a rare albino kangaroo on Daydream Island off the northeastern Australian state of Queensland, on July 11, 2010.


Torsten Blackwood

Australia is the world's happiest nation based on criteria including income, jobs, housing, homicide rates, lifespan and health, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Australia led Norway and the US in a survey of the 36 OECD member countries, the Paris-based group's Better Life Index showed, Bloomberg reported.

It is the second year in a row the index, which stops short of explicitly giving any one nation an overall top ranking, shows Australia ranked near or at the top of almost every one of the 11 overall measures, such as average working hours, air pollution, homicide rates and even voter turnout.

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Australians live longer than people elsewhere (an average life span of 82 compared with the OECD average of 80); more than 72 percent of people aged 15 to 64 in Australia have a paid job, above the OECD average of 66 percent; Australian children do better on international standardized tests than those in most other nations; and 92 percent of Australians are happy with the quality of the water they drink.

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Australia's unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in April, compared with 10.9 percent in the euro zone and 8.1 percent in the US.

Besides which, the West Australian wrote, 97 percent of Australians say they know someone they could turn to in a time of need.

Much has to do with Australia sidestepping the economic malaise gripping Europe, owing largely to a resources boom and strong demand for its iron ore and coal exports, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Australia's high standard of living is also drawing migrants from around the world, the WSJ noted.

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