The Better Life Index
The OECD notes that “There is more to life than the cold numbers of GDP and economic statistics” and have compiled an index that “allows you to compare well-being across countries, based on 11 topics the OECD has identified as essential, in the areas of material living conditions and quality of life.”
Go here and you can see the comparison of the OECD countries plus Russia and Brazil compared with all 11 variables equally weighed, or you can manipulate the comparisons to see which countries do better in specific areas.
The folks at the Economist also played with the index and came up with their own comparison:
The Economist has grouped these 11 sectors into four broader categories. America excels most in money and jobs, Switzerland in health and education. This year the OECD has adjusted the index for equality to give an estimate for the top and bottom 20% of each country’s population. America scores particularly poorly on this account, with the bottom 20% having an index score some 25% below that of the top 20%.
For those interested in such things, another index that attempts to go beyond just raw economic variables is the UNDP’s Human Development Index, which ranks the entire world.