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OECD reveals Australia’s best place to live

The Australian Capital Territory takes the cake when it comes to the highest level of wellbeing in the country.

Canberra and its surroundings leave Australia’s other states and territories for dead with its perfect scores for income, safety and civic engagement, according to data collected by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD used information collected by the national statistics offices of its 34 member countries to rank regional areas on their overall wellbeing based on eight different classifications.

Related: OECD boss praises Australian budget for gradual return to surplus

The eight sections, scored out of 10, were informed by data on unemployment, household disposable income, homicide rates, life expectancy, voter turnout, broadband access and the labour force.

The OECD launched this interactive guide in an effort to compare countries and regions beyond using economic growth as a barometer for quality of life.

The ACT also topped the country in terms of health (9.9), jobs (9.6), access to services (9.6), and education (9.1).

Related: Deaths from air pollution rise

New South Wales and Victoria toughed it out for second place both scoring perfectly for civic engagement.

NSW also received a top score for environment while Victoria rated higher in terms of safety (9.6), health (9.4), jobs (8.5), access to services (8.2) and education (7.4).

The ACT ranks highest around Australia for wellbeing.
The ACT ranks highest around Australia for wellbeing.

When it comes to household income, data shows Australia is the most unequal OECD country from region to region.

The Northern Territory tails the ACT with an income rating of 8.1, followed by Western Australia (7.7), NSW (7.1), Queensland (6.9), South Australia (6.6), Victoria (6.4) and Tasmania (6.2).

When it comes to health and safety, there is a huge disparity between the NT and Australia’s other regions. While the ACT ranks top for both (health at 9.9 and safety at 10), NT receives a mere 4.1 points for health and an abysmal 1.4 points for safety.

Related: Australia named world's happiest industrialised nation

OECD Public Governance and Territorial Development Director Rolf Alter says it is important to scrutinise regional areas instead of generalising about countries as a whole.

“Where people live has a huge effect on their quality of life,” Alter said. “By zooming in like this, we can really see the big differences that exist between regions and work out what local and state governments must do to reduce them.”

The ACT doesn’t just perform well within Australia but on a global scale also. If each region is judged on the eight categories equally, Canberra comes first, trailed by Western Australia and three regions in Norway.