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Work-Life Balance: How The United States Compares To Other Nations
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Work-Life Balance: How The United States Compares To Other Nations - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: How The United States Compares To Other Nations

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: How The United States Compares To Other Nations

According to a multinational survey, the United States ranks 27th of 36 democratic, economically developed countries in work-life balance. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development examined two indicators for work-life balance: percentage of employees working “very long hours” (50 hours or more per week) and average time devoted to leisure and personal care.

11.13% of employees in America work more than 50 hours per week, the 12th-most among surveyed nations. This compares to 46.13% in Turkey, the highest, and .16% in Russia, the lowest. 6.38% of employees in the Slovak Republic, which finished in the middle, work very long hours.

In the U.S., 16% of men work very long hours, compared to 6% of U.S. women, but the average American woman spends 258 minutes per day on “unpaid work,” such as maintaining the household and caring for children, while the average American man spends 154 minutes per day on such work.

This disparity between American men’s and women’s time spent on unpaid work explains (in part) the parity in time spent on personal care (such as sleeping and eating) and leisure activities (such as socializing, entertainment, and hobbies). Men and women in the U.S. both spend around 14.3 hours per day, ranking it 27th of the 36 countries. This compares with Mexico’s 12.66 hours per day (the lowest) and Denmarks 16.06 hours (the highest). This translates to a difference of nearly nine hours more leisure and personal care per five-day work week for Danish employees than in the United States.

Not included in this ranking, but at least peripherally related to the topic of work-life balance, the U.S. also ranks first in housing (conditions, expenditures), first, by far, in income (financial wealth and disposable income), 10th in health (reported health and life expectancy), 15th in safety (homicide and assault rates), and 14th in life satisfaction (reported general satisfaction with life).

These rankings and statistics come from the OECD’s Better Life Index (oecdbetterlifeindex.org), which features interactive illustrations of the countries’ rankings across several categories, allowing users to give weights to each category and get an overall picture of the rankings based on one’s own priorities and preferences. A link is also provided for access to the entire dataset, which may be sorted and filtered by way of a web interface or downloaded for offline analysis.

 

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