2020 Competitiveness: OECD ranking methodology

To determine the economic health of the 30 OECD countries, Canadian Business ranked them by 12 categories: demographics, GDP, trade, prices, energy, life quality, government finance, labour, technology, education, environment and military spending. Countries were ranked according to performance in each component, which was assigned a score from 1 to 30 — 1 being the best score and 30 the worst; a total for each category was created by adding the component rankings. Overall rankings were then obtained by totalling category rankings (lowest score=best performance). The components for the 12 categories are as follows. Unless otherwise stated, the source for the component is the 2007 OECD Factbook. A note: the majority of data in the Factbook is for 2005, and the lower the military spending as a percentage of GDP the better the score in that category.


Annual population growth
Children per woman aged 15-49
Projected % of population over age 65 in 2030
Projected change in % of population over age 65, 2005-2030
Projected % of total workforce over age 65 in 2030
Projected change in % of total workforce over age 65, 2005-2030


GDP per capita
Gross national income per capita
Annual GDP growth in 2005
Fixed capital formation, % of GDP
GDP deflator


Trade balance per capita
Service trade balance per capita
Balance of payments, % of GDP


Consumer price index (2000=100)
Central Bank rates (various sources other than OECD as of mid-July 2007)
Purchasing power parities, % change


Primary energy supply per $1,000 of GDP
Primary energy supply TOE per capita
Renewable contribution, % of total primary supply

Life quality

Life expectancy at birth
Infant mortality rate (figures for Korea and New Zealand were taken from the CIA World Factbook, 2005 data)
% of population over age 15 considered obese and overweight
Prison population rate
Motor vehicles per 1,000 people
Road fatalities per million people
Road fatalities per million vehicles (figures for Mexico taken from the North American Transportation Statistics Database)

Government finance

Total tax revenue, % of GDP
Taxes on income and profits, % of GDP
Taxes on goods and services, % of GDP
Taxes on average worker, % of Labour Cost
Government gross financial liabilities as a % of GDP


Employment rates ages 15-65
% of unemployed in civilian labour force (figures for Iceland, Mexico, Sweden and Turkey were taken from the CIA World Factbook, 2005 data)
% of unemployed in long-term unemployed category


R&D expenditure, % of GDP
Triadic patent families per million people.
% of homes with Internet access (figure for New Zealand was calculated by the author based on data from the 2007 OECD Factbook. The author derived the figure by taking the OECD's average increase for countries where 2001 and 2005 data was available and applying it to New Zealand's 2001 information)
ICT equipment exports per capita
Telephone access paths per 100 people


Mean test scores in reading (Programme for International Student Assessment)
Mean test scores in science (Programme for International Student Assessment)
% of those aged 25-64 who have attained tertiary level education
Education expense, % of GDP


Water abstractions per capita
Municipal waste generation per capita
CO2 emissions per capita (2005 data, sourced from UN)
Hectares of cropland per capita (2005 data, sourced from UN (figures for Belgium and Luxembourg were sourced from the CIA World Factbook, 2005 data)


Military expenditures, % of GDP (2005 data, sourced from CIA World Factbook)