livable adj : fit or suitable to live in or with; "livable conditions" [syn: liveable] [ant: unlivable]
Quality of life is the degree of well-being felt by an individual or group of people. Unlike standard of living, quality of life is not a tangible concept, and therefore cannot be measured directly. Furthermore, quality of life consists of two components. The first is a physical aspect which includes such things as health, diet, as well as protection against pain and disease. The second component is psychological in nature. This aspect includes such things as stress, worry, pleasure and other positive or negative emotional states. It is virtually impossible to predict the quality of life of a specific individual, since the combination of attributes that leads one individual to be content is rarely the same for another individual. However, one can assume with some confidence the higher average level of diet, shelter, safety, as well as freedoms and rights a general population has, the better overall quality of life said population experiences. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s quality of life index is based on a unique methodology that links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to the objective determinants of quality of life across countries.
Understanding quality of life is today particularly important in health care, where monetary measures do not readily apply. Decisions on what research or treatments to invest the most in are closely related to their effect on a patient's quality of life.
Organisational wellbeing looks at related factors from a corporate perspective, although this agenda is also informed by the employers' duty-of-care and external drivers such as the UK Health and Safety Executive's Management Standards for Stress (http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm). Organisational wellbeing looks at wellbeing issues that affect a company's staff and manages them to drive change and improve performance.
Measuring health-related quality of life (HRQoL)The measures often used in the study of health care are 'quality-adjusted life years' (QALYs) and the related 'disability-adjusted life years' (DALYs); both equal 1 for each year of full-health life, and less than 1 for various degrees of illness or disability. Thus the cost-effectiveness of a treatment can be assessed by the cost per QALY or DALY it produces; for example, a cancer treatment which costs $1 million and on average gives the patient 2 extra years of full health costs $500,000 per QALY. Assessing treatments in this way avoids the much greater problems associated with putting a monetary value on life, as required in other areas of economics; saying that a treatment costs $5000 per QALY (i.e. per year of life) does not say or assume anything about the monetary value of a year of life or about the real quality of that life.
Another method of measuring quality of life is by subtracting the "standard of living", according to the technical definition of the term. For example, people in rural areas and small towns are generally reluctant to move to cities, even if it would mean a substantial increase in their standard of living. One can thus see that the quality of life of living in a rural area is of enough value to offset a higher standard of living. Similarly people must be paid more to accept jobs that will lower their quality of life. Night jobs or ones with extensive travel all pay more, and the difference in salaries can also give a measure of the value of quality of life.
There is a growing field of research concerned with developing, evaluating and applying quality of life measures within health related research (e.g. within randomised controlled trials), especially Health Services Research. Many of these focus on the measurement of health related quality of life (HRQoL), rather than a more global conceptualisation of quality of life. They also focus on measuring HRQoL from the perspective of the patient and thus take the form of self completed questionnaires. The International Society for Quality of Life was founded in response to this research and is a useful source of information on this topic.
A number of groups and agencies around the world have tried to develop ways of assessing quality of life - See the External Links.
Application in politics
North AmericaThe term has often been used, since the 1980s and esp. 1990s, in connection with the presence or absence of so-called victimless crimes, its users in this sense citing the incidence of these to gauge the inherent level of disorder in a society at a particular time. Users of the term in this application — who tend to be political and/or social conservatives — often refer to victimless crimes by the alternate name of "quality-of-life crimes." In conjunction with this, American sociologist James Q. Wilson has articulated what he calls the Broken Window Theory, which asserts that relatively minor problems left unattended (such as public urination by homeless individuals) send a subliminal message that disorder in general is being tolerated, and as a result, more serious crimes will end up being committed (the analogy being that a broken window left unrepaired exudes an image of general dilapidation). Wilson's theories have been expounded by many prominent American mayors, most notably Oscar Goodman in Las Vegas, Richard Riordan in Los Angeles, Rudolph Giuliani (seen as its instigator) in New York City and Gavin Newsom in San Francisco. Their cities have instituted so-called zero tolerance policies, i.e. that do not tolerate even minor crimes.
One attempt to take quality of life more into account in government decisions is the notion of a seventh generation standard, which argues that the effect of any decision today should be judged by its effect in six generations. These measures are often associated in the United States with the proposed Seventh Generation Amendment proposal to the U.S. Constitution, and in Canada with the Canada Well-Being Measurement Act co-authored by Mike Nickerson of the Green Party of Ontario and Joe Jordan, a former Liberal Party of Canada Member of Parliament. This strategy still would be very difficult to implement as predicting the future is never easy. Decision makers seven generations ago in the early mid-nineteenth century would have great difficulty comprehending today's realities.
Several First Nations in both Canada and U.S. seem to have independently originated this standard, prior to European contact, which seems to represent the age ratio between the longest-lived elders and newborns expressed in terms of generations, i.e. humans live at most 100-115 years, and reproduce in most tribal cultures at about 15-17 years old, a ratio of about seven to one. So, according to the standard, any child born as a decision was being made would be able to assess its impact over their entire life as an elder. Another interpretation would be that seven generations is beyond the lifespan of any individual, in effect ensuring that the results of decisions will occur in absentia. Thus, the choices for a decision should be made in consideration of persons that will never be met. In this way, the chooser and the resultants are equally anonymous to each other, removing any personal bias from the decision-making process.
Although laws to require standards for measuring well-being have not yet been adopted, they are growing in popularity in the labor movement, forced attention to these matters to the NAFTA level and have begun to challenge assumptions of economics regarding inflation and money supply.
Early studies by JCMOPS In Dt 365 found that adopting the U.S. dollar (i.e. in both Canada and Mexico) have been drastically complicated by proposals to agree, as a prerequisite, on measuring well-being, which is still a very new subject. In part to stall or block currency union, the Canadian Labour Congress, Green Party of the United States, Green Party of Ontario and Green Party of Canada have all backed well-being measures very strongly. However, there is broad agreement among green economists that a common standard for measuring well-being, and possibly also Bioregional Democracy measures, would be required in order to ensure biosecurity after a currency union.
An independent American film entitled Quality of Life offers a fictionalized story of two young graffiti writers caught up in the harsh anti-graffiti crackdown under San Francisco's "quality-of-life laws".
- Appropriate Technology
- Bhutan - country that uses QofLife index rather than GNP as a measure of progress
- Canadian Index of Wellbeing
- Civil protection
- Copenhagen Consensus
- Genuine Progress Indicator
- Great Transition
- Gross domestic product
- Gross National Happiness
- Happy Planet Index
- Health Services Research
- Health utilities index
- Human Development Index
- Meaning of life
- Patient-reported outcome
- Physical quality-of-life index
- The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Quality-of-life index
- Simple living
- Social security
- Standard of living
- Subjective life satisfaction
- Vanderford-Riley well being schedule
- World's Most Livable Cities
- United Nations' 2007/2008 Human Development Index rankings
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Well-being
- The Economist's 2005 Quality of Life Survey - Requires Subscription
- Mercer International's Quality of Living Survey 2006 (Cities)
- Ecosystems and Human Well-being (PDF) by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005)
- The Role of Well-being in a Great Transition, in GTI Paper Series, provides an overview of theories of Well-being and examines how a focus on quality of life could change the trajectory of global development,
- Human Services Barnstable, MA. On line, papers, CD, etc.
- Article: Get Happy from Intelligent Giving
- CEA Registry Website
- ProQolid (Patient-Reported Outcome & Quality of Life Instruments Database)
- Mapi Research Trust ("Non-profit organization advancing the art & the use of scientific approaches to Patient-Reported Outcome (PRO) measures")
- Global Social Change reports includes reports about global quality of life.
- Measuring quality of life using free and public domain data Paper in Social Research Update, a peer reviewed journal.
- www.ql-recorder.com Shareware platform for electronic quality of life questionnaires
- 2007 Quality of Life Index: The best place in the world to live?
- Mercer Human Resource Consulting: Quality of Living Survey
- A Note on Human Development Indices with Income Equalities
- Health Utilities Index surveys
- EuroQOL (EQ-5D) survey
livable in Bulgarian: Качество на живота
livable in German: Lebensqualität
livable in Spanish: Calidad de vida
livable in French: Qualité de vie
livable in Galician: Calidade de vida
livable in Hebrew: רווחה
livable in Italian: Qualità di vita
livable in Lithuanian: Gyvenimo kokybė
livable in Dutch: Leefbaarheid
livable in Japanese: クオリティ・オブ・ライフ
livable in Korean: 참살이
livable in Polish: Wskaźnik Jakości Życia
livable in Portuguese: Qualidade de vida
livable in Russian: Уровень жизни
livable in Slovenian: Življenjski standard
livable in Swedish: Livskvalitet
livable in Turkish: Yaşam kalitesi
livable in Urdu: کیفیت حیات
livable in Chinese: 生活质量