Saturday, 19 April 2014

A-Z Simple Living: Q = Quality of Life

When I first chose the word Quality I thought I would be talking about the quality of food or produce, but I have already covered that topic in great detail. I believe that by adopting a more simple life that I have improved my quality of life, which got me thinking...what exactly is Quality of Life? How do you define it? Surprisingly to me, there are worldwide studies and surveys on the quality of life and Australia has been ranked number 1 on the OECD's Better Life Index for the past two years. So, how do they determine the rankings?

Basically, the OECD use 11 topics to reflect what they have identified as essential to well-being in terms of material living conditions (housing, income, jobs) and quality of life (community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance). The following is a summary of the criteria or statistics used to provide the rankings:

1. Housing:
* Dwellings without basic facilities
* Housing Expenditure
* Rooms per person

2. Income
* Household net adjusted disposable income
* Household net financial wealth

3. Jobs
* Employment rate
* Job Security
* Long term unemployment rate
* Personal earnings

4. Community
* Quality of support network

5. Education
* Educational Attainment
* Student Skills
* Years in Education

6. Environment
* Air Pollution
* Water Quality

7. Civic Engagement
* Consultation on rule-making
* Voter Turnout

8. Health
* Life expectancy
* Self reported health

9. Life Satisfaction

10. Safety
* Assault rate
* Homicide rate

11. Work-life Balance
* Employees working very long hours
* Time devoted to leisure and personal care

I think the above criteria provides a pretty good statistical snapshot of what determines quality of life but obviously there is so much more to it than that. I notice they don't assess spirituality or even happiness - I met some amazingly happy people in Thailand whose 'quality' of life would be largely measured not by the material, but by the spiritual. If you want to know how you personally fare according to the Better Life Index, then you can complete a survey to create your own.

So, today's topic is merely informational to provide food for thought. I think it's obvious that I believe in seeking a quality life, and to look at the criteria above did give me a reminder of how lucky I am to be living where and how I do...but I think the main thing is, we need to make the best of what we have, no matter where we live.

Do you think you have a good quality of life? What do you think determines it?
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