Quality of life index


The Quality of Life Index is an indicator that measures the well-being perceived by citizens in the different territories that make up our planet.

Different methodologies have been used to measure people's quality of life. Among them, we can mention the most relevant to the one carried out by The Economist and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (for its acronym, OECD).

Quality of life

There is no general or generally accepted concept of what quality of life is or the elements that compose it. However, it can be affirmed that this is related to factors such as access to health systems, guarantee of personal safety and adequate income level, for example.

Therefore, quality of life is subjective and is about the satisfaction of living and how happy people are. Therefore, the measure depends on the utility that each person finds in the different elements. An illustrative example of quality of life is the relationship between work and leisure. In general, you have to dedicate more time to work to earn a better income and there are people for whom that adds to their quality of life. Meanwhile, others consider that sacrificing leisure for higher income reduces quality of life.


The indices, in general, are a weighting of variables taken to the same scale. For example, by creating dummy variables.

You can also perform econometric regressions that allow you to work with different scales.

Components of the quality of life index

ElementsThe EconomistOECD
Income: The most common measure is GDP per capita, taken to a common measure such as PPP. Other measures used are disposable income and family wealth.✔️✔️
Housing: It is a measure of approximation to the state of the families' housing. This includes expenses, availability of services and density.????✔️
Family life: Try to measure the satisfaction in the couple with the divorce rate per inhabitant.✔️????
Employment: This can be measured by the unemployment rate in the short and long term.✔️✔️
Community: This variable is subjective and the way to measure it will depend on the researcher. You can use the level of support between relatives and acquaintances, and participation in religious groups, unions and cults, for example.✔️✔️
Education: The educational level is generally measured by years and level of schooling.????✔️
Environment: Measures the quality of the environment and how people perceive it. For example, if it is a free place or with low levels of contamination. It can also be through the type of climate, for example, hot or cold.✔️✔️
Political freedom: It is also interesting to measure people's participation in decision-making. This, through the enjoyment of political and civil liberties.✔️✔️
Health: The most common indicator is life expectancy at birth. Because it is a representative variable of the quality of the health system.✔️✔️
Security: Measures how safe the environment is. It can be through people's perception or crime rate, for example.✔️✔️
Gender equality: The main variable is the difference in income between the female and male population.✔️????
Work-life balance: It is a relationship between leisure hours and excess work.????✔️
Satisfaction with life: It is a measure of complacency of personal life. People are asked directly how they feel about life in general. ????✔️

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