Quality of life is a concept that refers to the set of conditions that contribute to the well-being of individuals and the realization of their potential in social life.
The quality of life includes both subjective and objective factors. Among the subjective factors is the perception of each individual of their well-being on a physical, psychological and social level. The objective factors, for their part, 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 status and the harmony of their personal relationships and with the community.
In between, we could analyze the quality of life considering five major areas:
- Physical well-being, associated with the health and physical safety of people;
- Material well-being, which would include income level, purchasing power, access to housing and transportation, among other things;
- Social well-being, linked to harmony in personal relationships such as friends, family and community;
- Emotional well-being, which includes from the person’s self-esteem, to their mentality, their beliefs and their emotional intelligence;
- Development, related to access to education and the possibilities of contributing and being productive in the labor field.
For the World Health Organization (WHO), the quality of life would imply a person’s perception of their life situation in relation to their context (culture, value system), their 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 indexes, surveys, questionnaires or scales to determine the quality of life of a community, city, country or region.
For its part, the United Nations Organization (UN), through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), has established the Human Development Index (HDI) as the indicator to measure the 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 food, on the outside.
Today, a better quality of life should be the goal that countries pursue in order to have happier citizens, with greater well-being and satisfaction.
Among the countries with the best quality of life in Latin America are Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina in the first places. While in the world countries like Switzerland, Norway or Luxembourg stand out.