We explain what is the quality of life and what are the ways to measure it. Factors that influence it, and indicators of quality of life.
What is the quality of life?
The meaning of quality of life is complex, since it is a concept that we use to refer to economic, social and political variables , among others, that directly impact human life. However, there is no consensus on what the quality of life is, so there are definitions from different fields of knowledge, such as sociology , politics , medicine, etc.
What does exist is a more or less defined criterion regarding which countries and regions offer life models to their population that allow a greater development of their potential and, in general, a fuller life.
Thus, different international organizations are responsible for measuring this quality of life . And they do so through specific methods that focus their attention on various aspects of human life in society , to develop a development index that allows stratifying geographic and national regions based on which offers the best conditions for living.
In the past, this type of analysis was done considering only the economic aspects of the country, such as economic growth or industrial production, but in recent times these types of approaches are discarded because they reduce the quality of human life to minimum material conditions, leaving out many other variables.
How do you measure the quality of life?
To measure the quality of life, statistical information, surveys, social, cultural and medical reviews are usually used, usually focused on three main aspects:
- Life expectancy or longevity.
- The educational level throughout the country and social classes .
- The Gross Domestic Product per capita.
From these three indicators, the HDI (Human Development Index ) proposed by the UN through UNDP (United Nations Development Program) is currently determined. The countries with the highest HDI in the world are Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Canada and Japan.
Quality of life factors
Broadly speaking, numerous and different factors can be identified that intervene for good or for bad in the quality of life of societies, depending on how one does their study. We could, however, group them into very general categories:
- Environmental context . The wars , political instability, extreme economic or working conditions largely determine the quality of life of an individual or a group of people , from the consequences of their historical context exert on it.
- Social environment . The degree of insertion in society, family support, the presence of protective institutions or social marginalization are also variables that are played when thinking about the quality of life. In fact, individuals from the same region may have different qualities of life according to their social environment.
- Vital conditions . Wealth and poverty, real opportunities, in short, the conditions in which an individual comes to the world and develops directly affect their opportunities and their quality of life in general.
- Personal satisfaction . At very personal levels, individual decisions and the unique way of dealing with all the above conditions are also important factors in the quality of life of an individual.
- Culture and society . The cultural conditions exerted on an individual or a group of them by the rest of the community or by themselves cannot be set aside.
Quality of life indicators
In the statistical study of the quality of life, the indicators of the quality of life are examined objectively: the elements that must be questioned to get an idea about the way of life of societies. Some of them are:
- Material conditions . Wealth, access to savings , type of housing, etc.
- Work . Labor strip (formal, informal, illegal), salary , employment conditions, etc.
- Health . Access to medical service, medicines, daily hygiene conditions, etc.
- Education . Formal academic level achieved, access to education at all levels, etc.
- Leisure and social relations . Access to entertainment, amount of free time, level of integration into society, emotional ties, etc.
- Physical and personal security . Looking at the conditions of life, work, etc.
- Basic rights . Protection (or helplessness) on the part of State institutions , etc.
- Environment and environment . Geographical conditions of life, immediate environment of vital development, etc.