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Example 2

Quality of Life is more than Health

The Intelligence Unit of the widely distributed publication, The Economist, recently developed a new “quality of life” index based on a methodology that links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to the objective determinants of quality of life. Using life-satisfaction surveys as a starting point, the Unit used nine indicators that had a significant influence on life-satisfaction and turned these into an equation that explained more than 80% of the variation in country’s life-satisfaction scores. The main factor was income, but the others things were also important: health, freedom, unemployment, family life, climate, political stability and security, gender equality, and family and community life. Note that health is listed among many other aspects of life. Ireland came out top with the fourth-highest GDP per head in the work in 2005, low unemployment, and political liberties. The U.S. was ranked 13th.

These rankings do not match those for infant mortality or life expectancy, but represent the notion that quality of life is broader than health status.

Kahneman D., Diener E., Schwarz N. (Eds). (1999). Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology. New York : Russell Sage.