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Monday 18 December 2017

They've wealth and jobs, but Germans are even more miserable than us

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

GERMANS are more miserable than us, according to the oddly cheering results of a new study.

They might have the wealth, the jobs, and an increasingly big say in how the rest of us live, but Germany ranks just 17 out of 36 developed countries in terms of overall quality of life, according to the research.

Ireland, for all our woes comes in two places ahead at a respectable 15 out of 36.

That's according to new research from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Paris-based group's Better Life Index compared 36 rich countries across a range of criteria including income, housing, health and jobs to create its Better Life index.

The overall rankings make a change from the OECD's usually dry statistics on educational standards and economic development statistics.

Recession-defying Australia tops the rankings. The land down under was the only major developed nation to avoid the global recession in 2009.

Satisfied

It's left Australians with the best quality of life, beating runners-up Norway and the US.

For all their success, Australians are only the seventh most satisfied with their lot -- well behind the Danes, who do well in terms both of satisfaction and work/life balance.

The success of the Danes points to one of the more interesting OECD findings -- namely "euro misery".

Six of the top-ranking nations are European, but all of the best-off Europeans are the ones with their own currencies.

In a blow for euro federalists, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland are all happier than the euro-using Dutch, who in eighth place on the table are living the high life in terms of countries inside the eurozone.

In what is sure to be a widely disputed finding the OECD found that across most of the rich world women are faring better than men.

Men earn more, but they work longer hours and are more stressed. Women, especially younger women, are better educated and on the whole more satisfied with life.

Back home, we benefit from some often overlooked advantages. Air quality and water quality are well ahead of the average and educational levels are high.

Irish people work fewer hours than average -- putting in 1,664 hours a year compared to the 1,749 average. However, given the state of the jobs market there are many people here who would prefer to be working longer.

Irish Independent

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