Belgium performs very well on the latest Better Life Index by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and ranks among the top ten countries in several topics. This Index 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.
Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Belgium, 70% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, close to the OECD average of 74%. This is equally true for men and women, as 70% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 71% of women. This difference is lower than the OECD average and suggests that Belgium succeeds in delivering quality education regardless of gender.
Belgium is a top-performing country in terms of the quality of its educational system. The average student scored 509 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), higher than the OECD average of 497. Boys and girls perform equally, compared with an average OECD gap of nine points in favour of girls.
In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Belgium is 81 years, 1 year higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 83 years, compared with 78 for men. Belgium could however perform better in terms of water quality, as 80% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, less than the OECD average of 84%.
Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Belgium, where 92% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, higher than the OECD average of 90%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 89% during recent elections; considerably higher than the OECD average of 72% and one of the highest in the OECD.
In general, Belgians are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 83% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is slightly higher than the OECD average of 80%.