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Encyclopedia > Standard of living

The standard of living refers to the quality and quantity of goods and services available to people and the way these services and goods are distributed within a population. It is generally measured by standards such as income inequality, poverty rate, real (i.e. inflation adjusted) income per person. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, educational standards and social rights are often used too. Examples are access to certain goods (such as number of refrigerators per 1000 people), or measures of health such as life expectancy. It is the ease by which people living in a country are able to satisfy their wants. Income inequality metrics or income distribution metrics are techniques used by economists to measure the distribution of income among members of a society. ... The poverty line is the level of income below which one cannot afford to purchase all the resources one requires to live. ...


The idea of a 'standard' may be contrasted with the quality of life, which takes into account not only the material standard of living, but also other more subjective factors that contribute to human life, such as leisure, safety, cultural resources, social life, mental health, environmental quality issues etc. More complex means of measuring well-being must be employed to make such judgements, and these are very often political, thus controversial. Even among two nations or societies that have similar material standards of living, quality of life factors may in fact make one of these places more attractive to a given individual or group. The well-being or quality of life of a population is an important concern in economics and political science. ...


However, there can be problems even with just using numerical averages to compare material standards of living, as opposed to, for instance, a Pareto index. Standards of living are perhaps inherently subjective. As an example, countries with a very small, very rich upper class and a very large, very poor lower class may have a high mean level of income, even though the majority of people have a low "standard of living". This mirrors the problem of poverty measurement, which also tends towards the relative. This illustrates how distribution of income can disguise the actual Standard of living. In economics the Pareto index is a measure of the breadth of income distribution. ... In statistics, mean has two related meanings: the arithmetic mean (and is distinguished from the geometric mean or harmonic mean). ... A boy from an East Cipinang trash dump slum in Jakarta, Indonesia shows what he found. ...


There are many factors being considered before measuring standard of living. Some factors are gross domestic product, the per capita income, population, infrastructural development, stability (political and social), and many other indicators.


See also

The standard of living in the United States is one of the highest in the world by almost any measure. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
The standard of living of Humboldt County families is important to all county residents (5365 words)
Three income thresholds--minimum wage, subsistence wage, and a proposed living wage, are used to illustrate a variety of different living standards, and to show where Humboldt County households stand in relation to these standards.
The term "living wage" is one that is being used more frequently across the country as communities such as those in Humboldt County try to assess the standard of living of their residents.
Living wage campaigns have been sprouting up across the country in the last few years in response to concerns over the growing inequity in standard of living.
standard of living — FactMonster.com (357 words)
The evaluation of a standard of living is relative, depending upon the judgment of the observer as to what constitutes a high or a low scale.
Factors such as discretionary income are important, but standard of living includes not only the material articles of consumption but also the number of dependents in a family, the environment, the educational opportunities, and the amount spent for health, recreation, and social services.
While standard of living may vary greatly among various groups within a country, it also varies from nation to nation, and international comparisons are sometimes made by analyzing gross national products, per capita incomes, or any number of other indicators from life expectancy to clean water.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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