Quick Facts from the OECD Better Life Index

Population: 37.1 million

  • Ranks above the average in housing, subjective well-being, personal security, health status, social connections, environmental quality, jobs and earnings, work-life balance, education and skills, civic engagement, income and wealth.
  • Average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD $34,421/year, which is higher than the OECD average of USD $30,490/year.
  • Considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn about six times as much as the bottom 20%.
  • About 70% of people aged 15 to 64 in Canada have a paid job, above the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 73% of men are in paid work, compared with 67% of women. In Canada, 4% of employees work very long hours, considerably less than the OECD average of 10%, with 5% of men working very long hours compared with just above 1% of women.
  • 92% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, well above the OECD average of 79%. This is truer of women than men, as 91% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 94% of women. This reverses the OECD average picture, where men are slightly more likely to have graduated high school. Canada is a top-performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system. The average student scored 517 in reading literacy, math and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is higher than the OECD average of 488, making Canada one of the strongest OECD countries in students’ skills. On average in Canada, girls outperformed boys by 9 points, higher than the average OECD gap of 5 points.
  • Life expectancy at birth in Canada is 82 years, one year higher than the OECD average of 81 years. Life expectancy for women is 84 years, compared with 80 for men.
  • Level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 7.1 micrograms per cubic meter, lower than the OECD average of 14 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Water quality: 90% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, more than the OECD average of 84%.
  • Strong sense of community but only moderate levels of civic participation in Canada, where 93% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, more than the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 68% during recent elections, slightly lower than the OECD average of 69%. Voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated at 69% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 65%, a much smaller difference than the OECD average gap of 13 percentage points, and suggests there is broad inclusion in Canada’s democratic institutions.
  • General satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10: 7 grade on average, higher than the OECD average of 6.7.