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Swiss seem happiest with their lives: OECD

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Swiss seem happiest with their lives: OECD
Swiss dancers at the International Festival of Folklore and Dance in Evolene, 2011. Dancer photo: mountainpix/Shutterstock
23:28 CET+01:00
Swiss residents live longer than those in any other country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and have the highest level of life satisfaction among the group's 34 members, a new report says.

Residents in Switzerland have an average life expectancy of 82.8, compared with the OECD average of 80.1, says the Society at a Glance 2014 report of OECD social indicators.

According to its data, the mountain country is also the place where people “seem most satisfied with their lives”, compared to other OECD nations.

“When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, the Swiss recorded a 7.8, much higher than the OECD average of 6.6,” the report said.

Overall, the report gives Switzerland high marks for avoiding the social problems faced by many developed countries in the wake of the 2007-08 financial and economic crisis.

“In no other country is a smaller share of the population (around four percent) reporting that they cannot afford to buy enough food,” it says.

The report highlights the country’s low fertility rate of 1.52 children per woman as one of its challenges.

This is below the OECD average of 1.7 and well beneath the “demographic replacement rate” of 2.1 needed to avoid population shrinkage.

Switzerland has been offsetting its low native birth rate by admitting more immigrants.

The report notes that more than a quarter of Swiss residents are foreign born, more than double the OECD average.

Among other findings of the report:

— Public social spending at 18.9 percent of GDP in Switzerland is lower than the OECD average of 21.9 percent

— Health expenditures, averaging $5,600 per capita, are exceeded only by the US and Norway

— Swiss annual disposable income ranks among the highest in the OECD but the ratio between the average income of the richest and the poorest residents is seven, compared to an OECD average of 9.5 percent.  

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