OECD stands for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It was established in 1948 to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The organization compiles an annual “Better Life Index”, where several factors are weighed to determine which countries have the overall highest quality of life.

These factors include; income, housing, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance. You might assume that the countries with the highest income would enjoy the highest quality of life. If that were the case, the United States would come up on top year after year. As it turns out, money does not equal happiness… Quality of life considers aspects such as education, health, work-life balance, civic engagement and overall life satisfaction. In fact, the country that ranks number one in OECD’s 2012 Better Life Index has an annual income per capita of only $26,000. Lets take a look at what 8 countries ranked highest in the new index (factors are rated on a 10-point scale):

8. Netherlands

Income: 5.9
Life satisfaction: 9
Work-life balance: 8.7

7. Switzerland

Income: 7.9
Life satisfaction: 9
Work-life balance: 7.6

6. Canada

Income: 6.1
Life satisfaction: 8.7
Work-life balance: 6.5

5. Denmark

Income: 4
Life satisfaction: 10
Work-life balance: 9.7

4. Sweden

Income: 4.9
Life satisfaction: 8.3
Work-life balance: 8.2

3. United States

Income: 10
Life satisfaction: 7.6
Work-life balance: 5.7

2. Norway

Income: 3.9
Life satisfaction: 9.2
Work-life balance: 8.8

1. Australia

Income: 4.5
Life satisfaction: 8.6
Work-life balance: 5.6