Social Statistics, Quality of Life

Measuring the "Quality of Life" is more complex than measuring the gross domestic product (GDP), only because it often depends on the subjective perception one has of them. There are so many different dimensions of quality of life, complementing the GDP used as the measure of economic and social development: time series referring to the development of population, health, education, and gender issues help monitor and evaluate social impacts of development progress, aid flows and structural shifts.

The additional challenge for statisticians is measuring the quality of life for different populations, countries and cultures in a comparable manner. The important "Quality of Life"-indicators have to be identified first and their perceptional "quality" must be omnipresent.


"Quality of life is the notion of human welfare (well-being) measured by social indicators rather than by “quantitative” measures of income and production." OECD, Paris


The European Union has defined "8+1" dimensions/domains ... as an overarching framework for the measurement of well-being. Ideally, they should be considered simultaneously, because of potential trade-offs between them:

  • Material living conditions (income, consumption and material conditions)
  • Productive or main activity
  • Health
  • Education
  • Leisure and social interactions
  • Economic and physical safety
  • Governance and basic rights
  • Natural and living environment
  • Overall experience of life" 1)

The following "Quality of Life" figures - monitored e.g. by the World Bank - demonstrate the importance of a wealth-measurement beyond the GDP regimes:

The HIV tragedy in Somalia

Sanitation facilities in Haiti

Women who believe a husband is justified in beating his wife because of the following reasons: when she argues with him, when she burns the food, when she goes out without telling him, when she neglects the children, when she refuses sex with him

Children under 5 receiving oral rehydration and continued feeding

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Related ATS topics

Population Statistics
Income Statistics
Education Statistics
Health Statistics
Income, Wealth and Poverty Statistics


1) Quality of life indicators - measuring quality of life

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