Canadians are generally happy with their lives, according to a new measure from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Canada ranks at or near the top in many of 11 well-being indicators in the new quality of life index. Only Australia came out ahead of Canada in the survey of 34 countries.

Among the indicators in the Better Life Index are those relating to income, jobs, education and work-life balance. Findings in the OECD report mirror the results of a recent Environics survey for CERIC that shows the majority of Canadians (81%) are satisfied with their jobs, though nearly half of Canadians doubt they are being sufficiently rewarded for their work.

Some key findings in the OECD report:

  • In Canada, the average household earned 27,015 USD in 2008, more than the OECD average.
  • In terms of employment, nearly 72% of people aged 15 to 64 in Canada have a paid job.
  • People in Canada work 1,699 hours a year, less than most in the OECD.
  • 71% of mothers are employed after their children begin school, suggesting that women are able to successfully balance family and career.
  • In Canada, 87% of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma, much higher than the OECD average.

Why do jobs matter? According to the OECD: Both the availability of jobs and the earnings they pay are relevant for well-being. Not only do they increase people’s command over resources, but they also provide people with a chance to fulfill their own ambitions, to develop skills and abilities, to feel useful in society and to build self-esteem.