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The human cost of crisis

Nov 7, 2013 | News

(07 November 2013) – The global economic crisis has had a profound impact on people’s well-being, reaching far beyond the loss of jobs and income, and affecting citizens’ satisfaction with their lives and their trust in governments, according to a new OECD report.

How’s Life? finds that subjective well-being deteriorated in countries most affected by the crisis. Between 2007 and 2012, reported average life satisfaction declined by more than 20% in Greece, 12% in Spain, and 10% in Italy. However, moderate increases were recorded in Germany, Israel, Russia, Mexico and Sweden.

The report also finds that citizens in the hardest-hit euro area countries have lost trust in their governments and institutions. The percentage of people in these countries claiming to trust national government fell by 10 percentage points in the five years leading to 2012. In the OECD countries as a whole, less than half of those surveyed said they trusted their governments – the lowest level recorded since 2006.

But the report also finds that new forms of solidarity have emerged during the crisis. Personal and informal networks have strengthened, and a higher proportion of people are volunteering to help those in need. Families have been a source of support, both financial and in-kind, and have provided an increasingly important safety net.

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