Excerpts from the report on India’s ranking on selected parameters. The report addresses the growing demand for quantitative evidence on social well-being and its trends across OECD nations

Growing numbers of people feel they cannot afford food

Reduced spending on food is one of the main causes of food insecurity, a term that describes a situation where inadequate access to food does not allow all members of a household to sustain a healthy lifestyle

Fertility rates across the OECD are typically below replacement level with a moderate decline since the crisis

The total fertility rate indicates the number of children an average woman would have if she were to experience the exact age-specific fertility throughout her life. In 2011, fertility was well below the replacement level in most countries, averaging 1.70 across the OECD.

The number of adults in a household illustrates additional information about household composition and how people live together, while indicators on marriage and divorce reflect on “adult partnership" status. Marriage is the most common form of adult partnership in the OECD as a whole. The share of married adults is highest in Japan and Turkey where more than 65% were married in 2012. The share is lowest in Chile and Estonia where only about 40% were married. The family structure varies across the emerging economies. While more than 70% of the adult population are married in China, India and Indonesia, the share is close to 25% in South Africa.

The old age support rate is the ratio of the population who are economically active to older people who are more likely to be economically inactive. On average there were about four people of working age for every older person across the OECD in 2012. Rates in Mexico (nine people) and Turkey (eight people) exceeded this rate by a big margin. Support rates are projected to decline in all OECD countries over the next 40 years. Support rates are projected to decline in all OECD countries over the next 40 years.

More than 20% of all youth aged 15/16-24 were unemployed or inactive, and neither in education nor in training (NEET) in Greece, Italy, Mexico and Turkey in the fourth quarter of 2012. The lowest rates were observed in Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands and Switzerland, with rates of 6% or lower. In India, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, more than 20% of the population aged 15/16-24 were unemployed or inactive and neither in education nor in training in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Income inequality is an indicator of how material resources are distributed across society. The Nordic and central European countries have the lowest inequality in disposable income while inequality is high in Chile, Israel, Mexico, Turkey and the US. Comparable data from the early 1990s suggest that inequality increased in Asia, decreased in Latin America and remained very high in South Africa.

In 2012-13, public social spending averaged an estimated 21.9% of GDP across the 34 OECD countries. Belgium, Denmark, Finland and France spent more than 30% of GDP on social expenditures. By contrast, Korea and Mexico spent less than 10% of GDP. Social spending in the emerging economies in the late 2000s was lower than the OECD average, ranging from 2% in Indonesia to about 15-16% in Brazil and the Russian Federation.

For the first time in history, in 2011, life expectancy at birth on average across OECD countries exceeded 80 years, an increase of ten years since 1970. Italy, Japan and Switzerland lead a large group of over-two thirds of OECD countries in which life expectancy at birth now exceeds 80 years. Life expectancy was lowest in Mexico and Turkey. Emerging countries such as Brazil, China, Indonesia and India have also achieved large gains in longevity over the past decades, with life expectancy in these countries converging rapidly towards the OECD average.

In 2011, the US continued to outspend all other OECD countries by a wide margin, with the equivalent of USD 8 508 per person.Compared with large European economies such as France and Germany, the United States spends around twice as much on health care per person. Outside of the OECD, among the key emerging economies, China and India spent 13% and 4% respectively, of the OECD average on health in per capita terms in 2011.

Life satisfaction is determined not only by economic development, but also by people’s diverse experiences and living conditions. People in Norway and Switzerland are most satisfied with their lives. As for emerging economies, life satisfaction also varies between them, from above 6 in Argentina, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, to below 5 in India and South Africa.

The degree of community acceptance of minority groups is a measurable dimension of social cohesion. Acceptance of three such groups is considered here: migrants, ethnic minorities and gay and lesbian people. In Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway at least 90% of people think that their country is a good place for immigrants to live. The share of people who believe that their area is a good place to live for immigrants increased substantially from 2007 to 2012 in China, while the largest decline was observed in India, the Russian Federation and South Africa

A cohesive society is one where citizens have confidence in national-level institutions and believe that social and economic institutions are not prey to corruption. Confidence in the national government is generally high in Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, while it is low in the Czech Republic, Greece and Japan. In most OECD countries, confidence in financial institutions fell from 2007 to 2012. Among the emerging economies, confidence in national governments increased in Brazil, Indonesia and the Russian Federation, while it declined in India and South Africa.

Feeling safe while walking alone at night is generally strong in the Nordic countries, but also in Austria, Canada, Germany and Slovenia where similar levels have been recorded. Among the emerging economies, people’s safety walking alone at night increased in Argentina, Brazil, China and the Russian Federation, while it declined in India, Indonesia and South Africa.

In general, the six Anglophone OECD countries rank highest when it comes to donations of money to a charity. Lower levels of donations to charities are typically found among Mediterranean, Eastern European countries and countries outside of Europe, not belonging to the Anglo-phone group. Indonesia is the country among the emerging economies where solidarity outside the network of family and friends is most common. Also in India, the share of people who donated money, reported helping a stranger and volunteered time to an organisation increased, albeit from a lower level.

Text and charts are taken from the report OECD Social Indicators Society at a Glance 2014 Click here to see the full report.

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