Measurement of Quality of Life in the European Context: Approaches and Challenges
Aura Leulescu, Jean-Louis Mercy, Fabienne Montaigne, Pascal Wolff
Eurostat, European Commission, Luxembourg, Luxembourg

The measurement of Quality of life and well being has recently attracted substantial political attention, in the European Union Member States and beyond. Several statistical offices have put together their knowledge of the topic in order to elaborate recommendations on how to better measure the phenomenon. Overall, there is a broad agreement from the statistical community to consider quality of life as being within the remit of official statistics, and that it is composed of several dimensions that have to be captured at individual level in order to allow for the analysis of the specific situation of various sub-populations of particular interest. This leads to a situation in which ideally all the dimensions should be captured by a single statistical instrument. In practice, such an instrument does not exist in the European Union. Nevertheless, EU-SILC, which is now the reference source for statistics and indicators on income, living conditions and social inclusion, contains a number of ingredients which are essential for measuring quality of life and could be complemented by other data sources, official or not.

The paper presents strategies to possibly remediate the situation. Mainly based on EU-SILC but not only, it uses available sources to present various elements of quality of life measurement at the EU level. Some sub-populations of particular interest for EU policy makers are analysed, in particular those at risk of poverty or social exclusion, as defined in the Europe 2020 headline target. Possibilities of enriching existing data with statistical matching techniques are being considered.

Keywords: Quality of life; European survey on income and living conditions

Biography: Jean-Louis Mercy is in charge of the unit delivering living conditions and social protection statistics at Eurostat.