Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

When it comes to being happy, Australians are ahead of the residents in every other industrialized nation, for the third straight year. The annual ranking puts Americans at No. 6 on the glad-about-it scale. The annual Better Life Index is created by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It bases its ranking on housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance. The list doesn't weight them but treats those factors as equal.

It didn't actually name a No. 1, but its cumulative rank put Australia at the top, the OECD said, just ahead of Sweden and Canada.

One of the reasons it builds the list that way is so anyone looking at the countries can plug in those factors he or she considers important and come up with an idea of how they would rank based on the factors considered valuable.

Wrote the Wall Street Journal, "Australia's high rank in the OECD index — based on data from the United Nations, individual governments and other sources — is largely due to its economy. The nation mostly sidestepped the economic woes afflicting much of the developed world after the financial crisis and has expanded for 21 years straight without a recession. Unemployment stood at 5.5 percent in April, from 5.6 percent in March, compared with 12.1 percent in the euro zone."

"There is no one under the age of 40 now who has experienced a recession as an adult member of the work force," Saul Eslake, economist at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in Sydney, told the Journal's Enda Curran.

Still, the article noted that consumer confidence isn't great in Australia and "households blame the poor mood on a rising cost of living, an unpopular government and growing signs a long mining boom is nearing an end."

The index summary said that it "currently profiles the 34 OECD partner countries as well as key partners Brazil and Russia across the 11 topics of well-being, and will eventually include other key OECD partner countries (China, India, Indonesia and South Africa), representing the world's major economies. The index contains an overall description of the quality of life in each country, followed by its performance across the 24 individual indicators that make up the 11 topics of well-being. The index also lets you see how life compares for men and women, and for those at the top and bottom of the social and economic ladder."

The United States scored particularly well with income; its average household net-adjusted disposable income is $38,001, compared to Australia's $28,884. The average in the indexed countries is $23,047. They're all calculated in U.S. dollars.

Of Americans 15 to 64, 67 percent work for pay (the average among the countries is 66 percent). Americans work 1,787 hours a year, compared to the average of 1,776. Americans are also well educated, with 89 percent having a high school or equivalent degree, while the average is 74 percent.

Americans score 7.5 on life satisfaction, compared to 8.1 for Australians, who led the scoring for safety, civic management, health and environment. The United States bested the Aussies for housing and income and barely edged them out for work-life balance.

Australia
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: Almost 82 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 73 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $28,884

Percentage of people who work very long hours: Almost 14 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 73 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 519

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 94 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 93 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 84 percent

>> Jemma Roberts, 3, bottom right, holds an Australian flag as she and her father Scott watch a march commemorating ANZAC Day in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2013.

Sweden
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: Almost 82

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 74 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $26,242

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 1 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 87 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 496

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 92 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 84 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 85 percent

>> Sweden fans hold up plastic in the pattern of the Swedish flag ahead of the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group D match between Sweden and England in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, June 15, 2012.

Canada
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: 81 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 72 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $28,194

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 4 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 88 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 527

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 94 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 61 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 82 percent

>> A couple walk with the Canadian flag draped around them after the Canadian hockey team's win against the USA in the gold medal match at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010.

Norway
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: 81 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 75 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $31,459

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 3 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 81 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 500

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 93 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 76 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 86 percent

>> A young supporter waves a Norway's flag for the country's Andreas Thorkildsen in the Men's Javelin Throw final at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011.

Switzerland
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: Almost 83 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 79 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $30,060

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 6 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 86 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 517

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 94 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 49 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 82 percent

>> The world largest Swiss flag hangs at the ruggedly rock face of the mountain Saentis in Schwaegalp, Switzerland, Friday, July 31, 2009.

United States
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: Almost 79 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 67 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $38,001

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 11 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 89 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 496

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 90 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 70 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 83 percent

>> A United States flag flies on a ship of Massachusetts Bay Lines, Inc., against Boston skyline during Birth of A Nation Harbor Tours in Boston, Tuesday, July 11, 2006.

Denmark
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: 80 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 73 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $24,682

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 2 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 76 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 499

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 94 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 88 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 89 percent

>> Danish tennis fan Sofie Schmidt (9) wave the Danish flag while watching Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark take on Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain during their third round singles match at Wimbledon, Saturday, June 27, 2009.

Netherlands
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: 81 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 75 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $25,493

Percentage of people who work very long hours: "Very few"

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 73 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 519

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 94 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 75 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 86 percent

>> Performers create the Netherlands national flag with light panels during the closing ceremony before the World Cup final soccer match between the Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Iceland
Steven L. Olsen

Life expectancy at birth: 82 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 79 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: Lower than OECD average of $23,047

Percentage of people who work very long hours: Unspecified

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 67 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 501

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 98 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 85 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 87 percent

>> Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, July 16, 2011.

United Kingdom
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: 81 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 70 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $26,904

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 12 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 75 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 500

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 95 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 66 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 85 percent

>> A British union flag flies at half-staff atop Portcullis House, backdropped by Big Ben's clock tower in London, Monday, April 8, 2013, in respect for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

New Zealand
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: 81 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 73 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $21,892

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 13 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 73 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 524

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 93 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 74 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 83 percent

>> New Zealand flags are displayed on the fence of a house in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011.

Finland
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: Almost 81 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 69 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $25,739

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 4 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 83 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 543

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 92 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 69 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 82 percent

>> Seppo Venäläinen takes down the flag in Kuopio, Finland, Monday, March 8, 2010.

Austria
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: 81 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 72 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $28,852

Percentage of people who work very long hours: 9 perecent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 82 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 487

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 94 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 82 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 85 percent

>> Marlies Schild, of Austria, speeds down the course as an Austrian flag waves in foreground, in Lienz, Austria, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011.

Luxembourg
Shutterstock

Life expectancy at birth: 81 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 65 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: Higher than the OECD average of $23,047

Percentage of people who work very long hours: Close to 3 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 78 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 482

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 91 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 91 percent

Percentage who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 83 percent

Ireland
Associated Press

Life expectancy at birth: 81 years

Percentage of people ages 15 to 64 with a paid job: 60 percent

Average household net-adjusted disposable income: $24,104

Percentage of people who work very long hours: Almost 4 percent

Adults 25-64 who have equivalent of a high school degree: 73 percent

Average student score in Programme for International Student Assessment: 497

Percentage who believe they know someone they could rely on in time of need: 96 percent

Voter turnout as a measure of trust in government and citizen participation: 70 percent

Percent age who say they have more positive experiences in an average day: 84 percent

>> Supporters of the anti-British pressure group Eirigi hold Irish flags as they take part in a protest against the state visit of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to the Republic of Ireland in Dublin, Wednesday, May 18, 2011.