May 24, 2012.
A new international study has found Australia is the best country in the world.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in its annual Your Better Life Index, says that - on everything from average life span to overall happiness - nowhere is better than Australia.
The index tries to measure more than economic growth in determining how a country is performing.
Across 36 nations it pulls together indicators such as average working hours, air pollution, homicide rates and even voter turnout.
Australia ranked near or at the top of almost every one of the 11 overall measures, edging out Norway and the US for the number one spot.
Australians live longer than people elsewhere (an average life span of 82 compared with 80) and our children do better on international standardised tests than those in most other nations, while 92 per cent of Australians are happy with the quality of the water they drink.
There is less air pollution than in most other countries and 97 per cent of Australians say they know someone they could turn to in a time of need.
Almost 85 per cent of Australians ranked their own health as good compared with an OECD average of 70 per cent.
About 72 per cent of Australians aged between 15 and 64 are in paid work compared with an OECD average of 66 per cent.
One key measure the OECD uses is whether people are satisfied with their life.
This requires people to judge whether they have more positive experiences in an average day, such as feelings of pride or accomplishment, compared with negative experiences, such as pain or boredom, in an average day.
The OECD average was 72 per cent of people saying they were satisfied.
The rate was 74 per cent in Australia.