OECD: Life satisfaction in Hungary is among the lowest in the OECD

October 17, 2015


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) yesterday released a country profile titled How’s Life in Hungary as part of the international economic organization’s “Better Life Initiative”.

The report spotlights the fact that the children of poor families have it especially hard in Hungary. There are marked regional disparities in the level of education, income and access to things such as broadband internet between Central Hungary and the Northern Great Plain regions. Another finding is that life satisfaction in Hungary falls below the OECD average.

Where things are looking promising

  • Compared to the average OECD citizen, Hungarians experience higher job security and are less likely to work long hours.
  • The long-term unemployment rate (3.78%) lies above the OECD average, but contrary to the OECD trend it decreased by 0.5 percentage points between 2009 and 2014. (This is likely attributable to the government’s public works scheme).
  • Life expectancy increased by 1.3 years between 2009 and 2013, more than in most other OECD countries during the same period.
  • Educational attainment is relatively high in Hungary: 82.5% of the adult working-age population has completed at least an upper secondary education compared to the OECD average of around 77.2%.
  • In terms of social network support, 81% of Hungarians report having friends or relatives they can count on in times of trouble as compared to the OECD average of 88%.
  • The share of Hungarian children living in homes with self-reported poor environmental conditions stands at 17.9%, below the OECD average of 21.6%.
  • 94.3% of Hungarian teenagers find it easy to talk to their parents, the highest share in the OECD.
  • Hungarian students are also less likely to feel a lot of pressure from schoolwork than the average student in the OECD.

Where things are not looking good

  • Hungary has one of the lowest levels of household disposable income per capita in the OECD, and one of the lowest levels of average earnings.
  • Life expectancy in Hungary is among the lowest in the OECD, and only 57% of adults perceive their health as good or better than good.
  • Life satisfaction in Hungary is among the lowest in the OECD.
  • Hungarian children tend to experience poorer material living conditions than the average child in the OECD: 16.5% of Hungarian children live in “workless households” (with no employed adult), one of the highest shares in the OECD.
  • The incidence of low birth weight in Hungary is among the highest in the OECD.
    19.9% of Hungarian children report their health as fair or poor, which is higher than the OECD average of 13.6%.
  • The life satisfaction of Hungarian children lies below the OECD average.
  • In Hungary, children from high socio-economic backgrounds are far less likely to rate their health as fair or poor.
Source: oecd.org

Regional comparison

The report says “regional inequalities in income are smaller in Hungary than in the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic: the average household adjusted disposable income is 37% higher in Central Hungary than in the Northern Great Plain”.

Regarding relative income poverty, the report points out that unemployment ranges from 4.6% in Western Transdanubia to 11.8% in the Northern Great Plain (one of the poorest regions in Europe). It says “this gap (7.2 percentage points) is larger than the regional differences observed in most other OECD countries”.

Secondary educational attainment is also lower in the Northern Great Plain comparison to Central Hungary, 83.2% and 91.4%, respectively, and “this gap (8.2 percentage points) is larger than regional differences in the Czech Republic, Poland or the Slovak Republic”.

The OECD report says “the share of households with a broadband connection ranges from 82% in Central Hungary to only 66% in Northern Hungary”.