Quality of Life (QoL) - Context Quality of Life (QoL) - Context


In a context where macroeconomic conditions are again taking central stage in the public debate, it is important not to forget longer term issues such as improving people's well-being and preserving our social and natural environment. In order to measure the population's well-being, indicators by various dimensions that contribute to people's quality of life and using the EU-SILC survey as core data source have been (and are still being) developed.

The following priority areas for future work were identified by the Task Force 3 "Multidimensional measurement of the quality of life" of the SpG:

  1. Use EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions as the core instrument
  2. Complement the coverage of the dimensions with additional data sources
  3. Deepen and improve analysis

What is new on measurement?

  • A first set of QoL indicators, building mainly on existing data in the ESS, was published on the Eurostat QoL dedicated website in May 2013.
    The "Stiglitz/Sen/Fitoussi" Commission recommended in particular developing QoL indicators covering multidimensional measures of people's conditions that contribute to their life satisfaction. Therefore, an Expert Group was set up in early 2012, representing producers, users and other stakeholders. The Expert group started by taking stock of already existing data, with priority to those coming from existing surveys and administrative data within the ESS. With these data serving as a base, the task of the expert group was (and still is) to further develop the overall list of indicators according to the framework adopted by the Sponsorship Group, work on synthetic indicators, and a scoreboard of primary indicators.
  • An ad-hoc module on subjective well-being was implemented in the EU-SILC 2013 and the results were published in June 2015. This module contains subjective questions (e.g. How satisfied are you with your life these days?) which complement the mostly objective indicators from existing data collections and social surveys. The subjective indicators feed the QoL dimensions and complement indicators from exsisting surveys and data collections.
    The "GDP and beyond" communication, the SSF Commission recommendations, the Sponsorship on measuring progress, and the Sofia memorandum all underlined the importance of collecting high quality data about people's quality of life and well-being and the central role that statistics on income and living conditions (SILC) have to play in this improved measurement. The collection of micro data related to well-being therefore is a key objective. In May 2010 both the Living Conditions Working Group and the Indicators Sub-Group of the Social Protection Committee supported Eurostat's proposal to collect micro data related to well-being within the 2013 module of SILC in order to better respond to this request.

What is next?

  • Some of the variables from the 2013 EU-SILC module on subjective well-being will be included in the core of the EU-SILC instrument and collected on an annual basis.
    In the long term, EU-SILC should be developed further to serve as the core EU instrument connecting the different dimensions of quality of life on individual level and reflecting their dynamic interdependencies.
  • A scoreboard of one or two headline per quality of life dimension will complement the picture.