Turkey Is Full of Workaholics and Canada Has Too Many Rooms

How's life in rich countries these days? A new study offers some fascinating clues.
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Economists are usually a lot more concerned about how an economy is doing than how the people in it are doing.

But there is a branch of econometrics that focuses on the well-being of populations rather than the quarterly meanderings of somewhat abstract concepts like gross domestic product. One source of such data is the OECD, often referred to as a think tank focusing on economic policy for rich countries. A fresh report out this morning attempts to answer the the basic question “How’s life?” for people in different populations. It’s chock-a-block with interesting tidbits, as well as a fair number of fascinating charts. Here are just a few that lay out some of the remarkable distinctions between the world’s developed economies.

Americans still have the most cash to play with …

But the Swiss, Japanese and Italians live the longest. (And Russian lifespans are still shockingly short.)

People in Turkey and Mexico work incredibly long hours.

And Finland and Japan have some of the most literate and numerate populations.

A benefit of living on a small island? The Icelandic and the Irish are the tightest with their friends and families.

In most countries, voter turnout is falling. It’s highest in Australia, where voting is compulsory.

Mexico is very violent and getting worse. (Most murders there are never solved.) Russia and Estonia have both become far safer.

The Swiss, the Dutch and the Nordics are the most satisfied with their lives. (More on the Cantril Ladder here.)

Italian men do a ton less housework than Italian women.

And Canada has far too many rooms. Another example of froth in housing?


This post originally appeared at Quartz.

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Matt Phillips is a reporter at Quartz, where he writes about finance, markets, and economics.

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