Better Life Index
OECD's BETTER LIFE INDEX FOR CANADA AND THE PROVINCES: CHALLENGES AND RESULTS
Douglas May and Philip Hoskins, May 2014
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Over the past decade the OECD has advocated that the well-being of a society should involve more than an indicator involving real GDP. In May 2011, that organization produced its Better Life Index (www.betterlifeindex.org) for many countries. This action was carried out as a means of measuring social progress in order to both engage citizens and to motivate governments to focus on what sort of society its citizens wish for. ...The composite BLI index produced for individual countries is based on 11 dimensions, which reflect what people consider matters most in their lives. Since that May in 2011, the BLI has been updated and some new indicators have been produced. This year is no exception.
While the OECD’s indicator relates to nations, it has been recognized that meaningful citizen engagement can also occur at the provincial/state level and also the community/neighbourhood level where governments and non-government organizations also exist. In our session, we present the OECD’s BLI indicators for the 10 provinces over the period from 2000-2013. During the production of these indicators we briefly outline some of the challenges we faced as well as the idiosyncrasies we discovered. As for the provincial results that we will present, they are somewhat surprising and do not seem to necessarily follow a provinces economic fortunes.
CHARTING PROGRESS TOWARDS A "BETTER LIFE" IN NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR: STARTING WITH THE BASICS
Devin Drover, February 2016
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Over the last decade, Newfoundland and Labrador has seen tremendous economic growth. Provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased significantly, while household income has reached its' highest level in our province's history. Traditionally, economic indicators like these have been used to symbolize progress within our society. However, it is also important to consider whether we should be looking at something different. ...How does these indicators reflect the well-being of our residents? What about the social progress of our society? Is there something else we should consider?
The Better Life Index works to provide an answer to many of these questions. This index measures the well-being of our society and helps paint a picture of what are the values and priorities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Rather than just income or GDP, this index aims to measure how other things, such as job satisfaction or work-life balance, affect one's well-being. More than just numbers, this index will encourage provincial residents to consider how well they are doing, while providing governments and the private sector the tools needed to ensure responsible decision making.