What is Quality of Life

Quality of life is a concept that refers to set of conditions that contribute to the well-being of individuals and the realization of their potentialities in social life.

Quality of life comprises both subjective and objective factors. Between the subjective factors is the perception of each individual of their well-being at a physical, psychological and social level. In the objective factorsOn the other hand, there would be material well-being, health and a harmonious relationship with the physical environment and the community.

As such, many aspects affect a person’s quality of life, from economic, social, political and environmental conditions, to physical health, psychological state and the harmony of their personal and community relationships.

In between, we could analyze the quality of life considering five major areas:

  • physical well-beingassociated with the health and physical safety of people;
  • material well-beingwhich would include income level, purchasing power, access to housing and transportation, among other things;
  • social welfarelinked to harmony in personal relationships such as friendships, family and community;
  • emotional well-beingwhich ranges from the self-esteem of the person, to their mentality, their beliefs and their emotional intelligence;
  • Developingrelated to access to education and the possibilities of contributing and being productive in the workplace.

For the World Health Organization (WHO) the quality of life would imply the a person’s perception of their life situation in relation to their context (culture, value system), goals, aspirations and concerns.

The concept of quality of life has been assumed by different disciplines of study, such as economics, medicine or social sciences. For its analysis and measurement, different instruments have been developed, such as indices, surveys, questionnaires or scales to determine the quality of life of a community, city, country or region.

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For its part, the United Nations (UN), through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), has established the Human Development Index (HDI) as the indicator to measure quality of life. Their calculations are based on aspects such as life expectancy, education and GDP per capita, which would leave other equally important aspects, such as access to housing or good nutrition, out.

Today, a better quality of life should be the objective pursued by countries in order to have happier citizens, with greater well-being and satisfaction.

Between the countries with the best quality of life in Latin America Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina are in the first places. While in the world, countries such as Switzerland, Norway or Luxembourg stand out.

See also: Social well-being and Socio-affective well-being.