Reasons to be Cheerful: Part Three

It’s time to find out again whether Australia, usually referred to as the ‘lucky country’ is still the ‘happy country’, as in the happiest country in the (OECD) world.

Happy FamilyNow, I know I mentioned this a couple of months ago when I wrote about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in my post Who Are the Happiest People in the World? – but that was 2013 results.

Also, back in 2011 in my post The OECD Best Country Better Life Index I turned the results into a “Hurdle Race” and made a video proving that sometimes, living here in Australia as I do, I can be too happy.

If you read those posts you will know that OECD stands for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and that they look at 11 benchmarks when comparing the 36 participating countries to see which is happiest.

Australia came top on both of the occasions mentioned above, but which country is happiest now in 2014? The results were only announced last week and the winner is…



Here’s the top 10:

  1. Australia
  2. Norway
  3. Sweden
  4. Denmark
  5. Canada
  6. Switzerland
  7. U.S.
  8. Finland
  9. Netherlands
  10. New Zealand

What’s so good about Australia?

Specifically, which of those 11 benchmarks did Australia score highly in? And how did they compare with, say, the UK and the USA?

I think the answer deserves a table, don’t you?

A Table:

oecd2014So, we have a few surprises here I think:

  • UK safer than Australia?
  • USA income score is 10?
  • Australia and UK income scores so low?
  • Australia and USA’s work-life balance a major problem?

Other points to note are that Australia’s victory in civil engagement is rather hollow because that particular category is partly to do with the number of people who vote and voting here is compulsory. So it’s easy to see why we won that one.

On the other hand Australia’s superior performances in health, environment, life satisfaction, jobs and education are well earned and we didn’t do bad in housing and safety either.

The United States remained in seventh place as they were last year, but the UK slipped from 10th to 12th this time despite that remarkably high safety score, to be replaced by………New Zealand.

Down under strikes again.

You can find many more fascinating facts in greater detail over at the OECD Better Life Index.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • JamesV June 21, 2014, 6:25 pm |

    We are a family of three with a six year old. Myself UK migrant of 40 years. Wife Philippine.
    We are planning to move to the UK next year.
    Thanks for your stats. But please say how you are progressing.
    The problem with the stats is there is no such place
    as UK. There is no country with more faces. London is itself an amazing group with Kensington, Richmond on Thames, Chelsea, Hampstead, Croydon, Ealing, Hampton Court and the many cheaper nastier parts, all offering varying lifestyles yet accessible to world best music and arts.
    Yet we are aiming for Ashford in Kent. On main line and motorway. Houses around A$350,000.
    For us, easy access to London, South Coast, France and Spain is very enticing.
    We love Australia. Outside Melbourne. Fantastic climate. Land of open spaces and clean
    Negatives? Isolation from Europe and the US. Schools too relaxed. Lack of cultural development.
    Withdrawal from manufacturing into mining.
    Flimsy healthcare and no dental care program.
    Poor employment prospects for our boy in a decade
    UK negatives? Plenty. Awful class distinction. .Deadshit monarchy. Forests of derelict housing stock. Nuclear mess. Overcrowded in some areas.
    Pluvious cool climate and nasty winter road conditions.
    We feel like a change.
    The people are decent enough in both countries.
    We are just damn lucky to have the choice.

    • BobinOz June 22, 2014, 9:04 pm |

      Hi JamesV

      I’m not sure what you are asking when you say “please say how you are progressing”, but I do understand your desire to move somewhere else and try something different. I did the same of course, just in the opposite direction.

      I’m also not sure why you think that by staying in Australia your boy will have poor employment prospects in 10 years time, Australia’s unemployment rate has consistently been lower than the UK’s and Europe’s.

      But no matter, you are going to give the UK a go by the sound of it. Hope it works out for you, from my experience of both countries you will probably very much enjoy the change, but I don’t think you will be putting yourselves or your son in a better environment.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Kamma May 14, 2014, 10:35 pm |

    I do suspect the Us of cheating in the income department, that number makes so little sense.

    I wonder what exactly “housing” entails?

    • BobinOz May 15, 2014, 4:09 pm |

      I’ve got to say it completely flummoxed me as well. How it can possibly be 10 I do not know.

  • BobinOz May 14, 2014, 9:39 pm |

    Crikey, you people are so cruel! They happen to be very nice people and above all they are happy 🙂

    Shame on you!

    • Josey x November 24, 2014, 8:14 am |

      Happiest country in the World.
      Where do you get all those dodgy figures Bob! about the happiest countries in the World.No offence please but they look nothing like the figures that came out
      this month designating the different nations populations in terms of contentment.The latest figures show that the UK supersedes Australia by a long shot, in fact Australia is well down the list.Anyhow, stats can & many times do tell a pack of lies, i should know i study them.I live & work among the immigrant populations of western Sydney & although i have travelled & lived & worked in many nations i have rarely come across the level of misery that exists in the western Sydney.I might add also, rarely have i seen so many that are so happy.It is an extraordinary naivity, admittedly either born out of youth or ignorance that suggests that moving spots will necessarily bring forth happiness & eternal contentment.It would indeed be wonderful if it did, but unfautunately for so many it is simply a sad delusion in the mind of the one who is always seeking greener pastures as an escape from there daily drudgery.Where ever one lives or chooses to live is only one very small factor in one’s over-all level of satisfaction in one’s life.My advise to those who so desire to make a permanent move to a new country,what -ever that country might be,but particularly one so far away as Australia is to look at a whole range of crucial factors.Also don’t just see the nation you are moving to, or the nation you are moving from in the light of the present day or state of time, try to imagine or research how things may be in ten to twenty years in that part of the world,(Bobs Oz is as good as place to start i guess, providing the fair & structured criticisms don’t get shafted as the whims of a so-called whining pom)
      Incidently, this is one particular sickening cliche i have never had much time for.I have only had it said to me once or twice in over 35 yrs in Australia & i have lived with the roughest of folk who one can ascertain possessed the driest most wicked sense of humour imaginable in this great land.To me & many British folk in Australia it is not a joke,it is an extraordinary discrimitory, inflamatory &
      opportunistic jibe.When it is thrown at you, one can usually ascertain by the general tone & demeanor of the one that transmitted it, that it is in no way meant as a joke in any sense but rather a direct insult coming straight out of the mouth of an embitted, resentfull & miserable individual,thatif the truth wre known probably spends the most of his or her waking moments “whining” as it were.
      Apart from being insulting it is also a rather pathetic myth.An extraordinary large proportion of Australia’s present population is born overseas & one can be absolutely sure that out of these, many in fact i would say most will at some point in their daily grind have something to complain about (i know because i here them day in day out ) in their new found land.More often that not it’s usually something petty that has annoyed them or else they got out of bed the wrong side & within a few moments all is forgotten,they are back to their old selves again.However in other instances the new settler from where-ever, quite possibly has been a target of serious abuse, or perhaps can genuinely not understand something that is done differently in Australia or has a real & just reason to speak up & if necessary make some form of formal complaint about something or someone. In this instance the newcomer should absolutely & cattegoricaly put aside all fears of being labelled a “Whining Whinging Pom”.point blank refuse to acknowledge this complete & utter insulting crap talk, because that’s exackly what it is.You simply do not have to put up with it from anyone, whether it’s your Boss or work colleages or new aquaintances or whom-ever.
      Moving away on a permanent basis from one’s land of birth, one’s home & locality, one’s close friends, parents & family members, ones memories of nooks & crannies or places one visited & played as a child is a very brave challenging & momentous leap, it is even more so if one is an adult with a family & all the responsibity that entails.Coinciding with one’s desires of a new start in life in one’s new found land there is the unquestionable fact that the Government of Australia & it’s general population, in most instances but not all made it known that you “were” amungst others “required” in this part of the world,that your skills were in demand, that you & your family were welcome & that ultimately inviting you to migrate was both in the short long term good for all concerned.
      So why is it deemed perfectly acceptable for an individual from any of the multitudes of other migrant nationalities or ethnic groups to complain bitterly about any insult or of what they perceive as an infringement of their their self worth or rights but when an individual from a British ethnic group or an Irish national even hints at making a complaint at a far more serious injustice it is not acceptable, they are just shrugged off as a whining pom.The one, anyone(British Aussie or other) who either throws these insults or who perpetuates them by publicising the general theme or continuing this “sad & redundant all but retired cliche” on web sites is rearly behaving actually in a very unkind & thoughtless way.Also! if one has been subjected to these insults & are supposedly man enough to laugh it off or turn the other cheek, that does not mean by any means that it’s ok & not everyone perhaps is as tough as youAs well those who dish out are usually the last to be able to take the same & anyhow are never as tough or Macho as they think they are.I onced picked up a young English woman in a Taxi i was driving many years ago she had only been in the country a six months & someone in her workplace was constantly niggling her & calling her a whining pom.Well after speaking to her for a some time, it did not take me too long to realize that although this young lady was visibly very upset she was not someone who was the type to be always complaining.She was the victim of a very nasty dispicable individual who took joy out of hurting other people he perceived as in some kind of vulnerable situation, a newcomer would be his perfect targetThe last time someone suggested to me British migrants were Whingers was some time ago now.I immediately pulled over, stopped the Taxi i was driving at the time got out myself & told the guy, actually quite a big bloke that i was not interested in his fare or his money & asked him to get out of my car or i would call the police.I am not going to say what nationality he was but he was shall we say the off-spring of an Eastern European ethnic group in Australia probably complain more about anything & everything more so than any other group in the country.
      Forget about complainers, everyone complains.Those British in Australia who like to complain about other British complaining were complaining themselves before they migrated, they just complained about Britian instead of Australia,” so they actually were “Whining poms” once themselves.Over two hundred thousand people emmigrate to Britain every year,
      most of these don’t have too many bad things to say about Britain, actually quite the reverse, they all think it’s a wonderfull place filled to the brim with wonderful people & for what it’s worth so do i, i also happen to think the Western suburbs of Sydney is a wonderful place & so do most of my friends, even if i have had a gun put to the back if my head & robbed of all my nights takings in the cab,
      by some crazed Korean, even if the trains airconditioning systems are all broken in the sweltering heat of summer.
      You know what i do when i meet someone who doesn’t like British. I WHINE & HISS & I WHINE & I WHINE louder than the multitudes of stray cats that congregate & fight over the scraps left out by the shop keepers after dark & eventually they go away.The “Whining Pom” is dead in Sydney anyhow, the saying is pretty much obsolete,i have never even heard it said from the younger generation of Aussies ever. this web site is the first time i’v seen or head anything of that cliche since the Cab scene over five years ago.Someone on these posts made mention of it, probably as an insult as he probably was not British.But i don’t know & i care less, i don’t recognize it & i don’t mix with those who make use of it.Some people gave away their lives & dedicated themselves to the nation of Australia & if they find goog reason to complain about something is unjust they have the same dambed rights as anyone to do so & they should do so & good on them doing so.Anyone who doesn’t like it, ” Go bury your miserable head in the Dunes.

      Best wishes to all Drifter Josey

      • BobinOz November 24, 2014, 7:56 pm |

        Josey, why would you ask me where I got my figures from when the article goes to great lengths to explain precisely where I got my figures from? The recent survey you are referring to has absolutely nothing to do with this particular article.

        As for your extraordinarily long rant about whingeing poms, or whining poms as you seem to prefer, and having already read your stupidly long other rant against Sydney elsewhere, I can only assume you really are the Queen of all whingeing poms in the whole world.

        And if you find that tag insulting, please do be aware that I found the language used in your post, including the three obscenities which I had to remove, totally unacceptable. My website does not allow swearing at all, even if you use _ instead of a u as you did.

        Please read my comment policy before making any further comments.

      • Josey December 16, 2014, 4:48 am |

        Obviously Bob! i can see you’re a trife “cut up” at my rant above.Well now i’ve just looked at it, it does seem a touch harsh & bit over the top, but you know, i did have A few too many whiskey’s at the time.The whining pom i was refering to on your Blog actually was not you, but some one else’s comment i had read.
        However even if it was a lengthy twaddle, the general tone was hardly a list
        of complaints about life in this adopted land of ours. Any intelligent person if they had interprated it from a logical rather emotive perspective, their summation could only be that there were as many good points about this country as there
        were negative one’s & infact i specificaly pointed out that there are those whose
        lives are not as joyfull as our own might be, but so too are those who through thick & thin strive to see the better side of life irregardless of where they may live.Also there is the fact, that you do not know me from a bar of soap, or anything about me or from whence i come or my background, just as i do not know rearly anything about you, so for either of us to be making assumptions of any kind or throwing insults is hardly the just or fair.If a few expletatives
        are thrown in with someone’s words now & again it does not mean necessarily they were targeted towards you in particular.The general tone of my writ was to make the point that people like(if they are decent human beings) to be treated themselves as they treat others. Also, if one thing is abundantly clear from your reply to my writ, is that you! also Bob, do not take kindly to being insulted, which is what you believe you have “been” from me.My sincere appologies in that i have contributed to you feeling that way, i will see to it, that in future i will refrain from writing under the influence,or if you believe that what i have to say is
        unpallatable to you & in some way tarnishes the purity & general view of what you are endeavouring to achieve from your page then i will write no more.In all honesty i am not a great writer, my grammar is all over the place & i don’t have the skills or finesse of someone such as your self, being obviously highly skilled in what you do, i mean i’m sure that with your written & spoken knowledge of the English language you could wrap me round your little finger.To finnish you labelled me the Queen of whining poms,well i can see that our backgrounds are would so far apart that it would be very hard to ever bridge the gap so i will forgive that remark “in one ear out the other”.We came to this great nation under
        entirely different circumstances, you just out of the blue decided you would would like a change, either the South of France or Australia & well they don’t speak you lingo in France so lets make it Aus.I came as a fifteen year old independant child migrant in 1973 direct from British boarding institution & spent the first two years working on a station in the Northern Territory rounding up cattle & fixing fences for $40 bucks a week & lodging, there was no complaints bureau or OHS in those days, well not for us anyhow.Untill two years ago i have spent the best part of twenty years driving cabs in Sydney, no complaints bureau there either, not for the drivers anyhow.So “Queen of whining poms”
        i don’t think so Bob.
        But i’ll tell you what i do know, there is absolutely nothing wrong with standing up for injustice in this world where-ever that may be, in Australia, the UK or anywhere else for that matter & if some wish to call me silly names for doing so then let them do so, so be it, what will be will be.
        Best wishes to all & have a wonderful Christmas, Josey

        • BobinOz December 17, 2014, 12:41 am |

          Josey, it’s okay, I’d drunk three bottles of wine when I answered your comment, I can see now I was a little harsh on you as well 🙂 My point was that you were complaining about those who refer to ‘whingeing or whining poms’ yet two thirds of your very long rant was nothing more than a whinge and a whine. But I’m sure there was a little bit of whiskey involved in that.

          My main gripe though was the bad language and maybe also that I just got through reading your Sydney rant and that comment cheesed me off far more than this one.

          By the way, I didn’t think that the ‘whining pom’ that you referred to was me, why should I think that, I love it here, you won’t find me moaning about much. And I really didn’t take your comment personally or as a direct insult to me either. I’m glad you now see it as “lengthy twaddle” because that’s how I saw it at the time, but rereading it with just one bottle of wine in me I can see you have actually made some quite good and valid points as well, it was just a little too long.

          You asked “if you believe that what i have to say is unpallatable to you & in some way tarnishes the purity & general view of what you are endeavouring to achieve from your page then i will write no more.

          Answer: everybody’s opinions and views are welcome here, expletives excluded :-), yours included. I value all contributions and you with your history and experiences living here in Australia you have much to offer. Please do continue adding to the conversation for as long as you feel inclined.

          As for “there is absolutely nothing wrong with standing up for injustice in this world where-ever that may be” – I couldn’t agree more.

          Merry Christmas to all and you too Josey, have a good one.

  • Valter Russo May 14, 2014, 4:51 am |

    djmcbell, you just read my mind… creapy moustaches all the way.hehe

  • djmcbell May 13, 2014, 6:25 pm |

    Good God what an ugly family in that picture at the top!

    And they all have hideous moustaches!

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