Taiwan comes in 18th in quality of life survey

TAIPEI - Taiwan ranked 18th out of 37 countries participating in a quality-of-life survey published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), according to a report released by the government yesterday.

In the 2013 Your Better Life Index (BLI), Taiwan earned a score of 6.64 out of 10, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) published yesterday.

Launched in May 2011, the BLI is an interactive tool that measures a country's performances in several areas that are scaled to the resident's criteria for what makes for a better life.

On a scale of 1 to 10, Taiwan's composite index is 6.64, which is ranked 18th among the 37 countries with comparable data. Taiwan's ranking is better than that of Japan and South Korea, which are ranked No. 22 and No. 28 respectively, according to the DGBAS.

According to the BLI compiled by the OECD, Australia and Sweden tied for the first place with a score of 7.95, while Canada won the third place with a 7.92 score.

Good Material Life in Taiwan

The BLI includes 11 "dimensions" of well-being, and they are broadly categorized into two categories: material life and quality of life. According to the DGBAS, Taiwan's material life is much better than the quality of life it offers its residents.

Based on the DGBAS' report, the material life index entails three aspects: housing (6.6), income (6.7) and jobs (7.6), while the quality of life index factors in eight dimensions: community (7.6), education (6.3), environment (3.1), civic engagement (5.4), health (7.9), life satisfaction (4.5), safety (9.6) and work-life balance (7.7).

Regarding the material life category, Taiwan reached the top 10 ranking. Housing is ranked No. 9, income is ranked No. 4 and jobs is ranked No. 10 compared to the rest of the countries in the survey.

Of the quality of life category, the safety Taiwan offers its residents has the highest ranking - No. 3 - compared to other countries, while the environment dimension has the lowest ranking of No. 35, since Taiwan has both a high population and vehicle density, and they are taking a toll on Taiwan's environment, the DGBAS said. Rankings for the other six dimensions in the category are about the average.

Specific Indicators

Taiwan reached the top ten in nine indicators, while in six of them - dwellings with basic facilities, household net adjusted disposable income, job security, long-term unemployment rate - even received the top 5. Regarding air pollution and water quality, Taiwan was ranked at the bottom 5.

With the majority of young people pursuing higher education, most people delay entering the job market. Most people also retire at younger ages in Taiwan. The country's 63-per cent employment rate for the 15-64 age group is relatively low compared to the rest of the world, ranked 25.

On the other hand, job security (5.9 per cent) and long-term unemployment rate (0.73 per cent) numbers are relatively better compared with other countries, and are ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

While Taiwan's income figures are lower than those of most OECD countries, low prices have contributed to Taiwanese's relatively high purchasing powers, the DGBAS said.