According to the ‘Better Life Index,' Ireland ranks as one of the top ten countries in several of their topics. Here are some facts and figures from the ‘Better Life Index.'

While money cannot buy us happiness, it is still an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Ireland the average person earns $24,156 a year, that’s more than the OECD average of $22,387 USD a year. Higher economic wealth may also improve access to quality education, healthcare and housing. However, there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest, the top 20% of the population earn more than four times as much as the bottom 20%.

Having a job brings many important benefits, in terms of employment some 60% of people age 15 to 64 in Ireland have a paid job which is is below the OECD employment average of 66%. Some 64% of men are in paid work, compared with 56% of women. People in Ireland work 1,664 hours a year, less than most people in the OECD who work 1,749 hours on average. Almost 4% of employees work very long hours, much lower than the OECD average of 9%, with 6% of men working very long hours compared with just 1% for women.

Education plays a key role in providing individuals with the knowledge, skills and competences to participate effectively in society and the economy. It is also important for finding a job and in Ireland,72% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree. This is close to the OECD average of 74%. In contrast to the overall OECD experience, more women have graduated high school than men, as 68% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 75% of women. In terms of the quality of its education system, the average student scored 497 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), in line with the OECD average. On average in Ireland, girls outperformed boys by 12 points, slightly more than the average OECD gap of 9 points.

In 2010 in terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Ireland is 81 years, higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 83 years, compared with 79 for men.Ireland also does well in terms of water quality, as 89% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, compared with an OECD average of 85%. Higher life expectancy is generally associated with higher healthcare spending per person, although many other factors have an impact on life expectancy. Total health spending accounts for 9.5% of GDP in Ireland, slightly less than the average of 9.7% across OECD countries.

There is a strong sense of community and moderate levels of civic participation in Ireland, where 98% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 91%. Helping others can also make you happier. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 67% during recent elections, below the OECD average of 73%. People who volunteer tend to be more satisfied with their lives than those who do not. Time spent volunteering also contributes to a healthy civil society.

In general; Irish people are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 77% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 72%.

* Originally published in 2014.