The OECD or, to give it its full title, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have been responsible for many surveys and reports in the past. I’ve featured quite a few on this website, including The World’s Happiest Country and The Best Country Better Life Index.
I think it would be foolish of me to allow 2015 to arrive without mentioning their latest report about regional well-being for 2014 which came out in October.
OECD Regional Well-Being
This particular report looks at these nine indicators…
So, for example, I can look at the indicators for where I have moved from in the UK, which is South East England…
What does it tell me?
It tells me a few things I already knew, like I much prefer the environment in which I now live, there is just no comparison. Queensland gets the top score of 10 compared with 6.1. I also prefer my house here in Queensland, it’s simply much bigger and has more room around it and land than my old house back in South East England. That too is reflected in the 8.2 score of Queensland’s housing compared with 6.5.
I’m not surprised either that it tells me I had better access back in the UK’s South East than I have here, sounds right to me. Nor am I surprised that civil engagement here is much higher, because I know that’s to do with the percentage of people who vote and here in Australia voting is compulsory. So we can kind of ignore that one.
It also tells me some things I suspected which is that for my health, for jobs and for income, I’m better off here in Queensland than I was back in the South East of England, not by much, but by just a little bit.
Then there are a couple of things it tells me that I don’t particularly agree with, both Queensland and South East England score very highly for safety, I’m just surprised that South East England wins out on that particular head to head.
Similarly I’m much happier that my daughter Elizabeth is going through her schooling here in Australia, I just think the schools are much more enjoyable here for the children. She goes to school smiling every day and comes out still smiling.
She also appears to be getting a very good education and that’s good enough for me.
What about the USA?
I have only looked at one state in the USA, I decided to choose California simply because the weather is good, they have fantastic beaches and it’s a big state as well. Here are the indicators for California…
About the indicators
It’s when you look at how these indicators are calculated that some of the results start to make sense. For example, safety is simply to do with the homicide rate per 100,000 people. Education is simply the percentage share of the labour force with at least secondary education.
Here’s a chart explaining all the indicators…
I have read the user guide that goes with this report and they do say they are looking at ways of improving these indicators going forward. Whilst some of the indicators have a good solid basis, like income, jobs and housing, I think others could certainly do with those improvements.
That said, the website is full of interesting information that can be compared across 362 regions, so I strongly advise anybody interested in these kinds of comparisons to go over there and take a good look.
Have a good play around comparing wherever it is you are now to any place you think you might like to go to at any point in the future. It’s good fun and you will find heaps of information.
For example, you will get a full page worth of information on all of the indicators for a specific region once selected. No matter which region you are looking at, underneath each indicator you can compare the whole country with the other countries.
I looked at Greater London under the income indicator I clicked on “Compare United Kingdom to other countries” and the UK came 9th out of 34. But when it comes to concerns about inequalities across regions in the UK it came 25/33.
I then compared that to Australia and found it is ranked fourth out of 34 for income, but when it comes to concerns about inequalities across regions in this country, it came stone last, 33/33.
So whilst both of these countries have reasonably high incomes, you do have to live in the right area and it’s that kind of priceless information that makes this interactive website well worth a visit.