What is the Difference Between Standard of Living and Quality of Life

The main difference between standard of living and quality of life is that standard of living is a measure of wealth, income and material comfort available to a person or community whereas quality of life is a highly subjective measure that concerns the general well-being of individuals and societies.

Standard of living and quality of life are two closely related concepts. However, there is a distinct difference between them based on the factors they include. While standard of living mainly includes financial components, quality of living also includes non-financial components like happiness, health, and security.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Standard of Living 
     – Definition, Factors, Measurement
2. What is Quality of Life
     – Definition, Factors
3. What is the Difference Between Standard of Living and Quality of Life
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Standards of Living, Quality of LivingDifference Between Standard of Living and Quality of Life - Comparison Summary

What is Standard of Living

Standard of living is the measure of wealth and material comfort available to a person or community. It mainly measures the material aspects of society. It includes factors like income, GDP (gross domestic product), economic opportunity, and life expectancy. Moreover, the standard of living can be used to compare two different geographical areas or distinct time periods. For example, we can compare the standard of living in Australia and Canada; similarly, we can measure the standard of living in contemporary New York, comparing it to the standard of living a century ago.

Difference Between Standard of Living and Quality of Life

Figure 1: GDP per Capita can Measure Standard of Living

Standards of living in developed countries such as the UK and US are higher than that of developing countries.  Moreover, economists often use GDP per capita to measure the standard of living. This is a country’s gross domestic product divided by its population. The United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI) is another measure of standard of living. Furthermore, this measure is based on various factors like education, life expectancy at birth, and income per capita.

What is Quality of Life

Quality of life refers to the general well-being of individuals and societies. This is a highly subjective concept, which is hard to measure. Furthermore, quality of life includes various factors like wealth and employment, education, physical and mental health, recreation and leisure time, safety etc. Concepts such as happiness, freedom and human rights are also associated with quality of life.

Moreover, factors that affect the quality of life may also vary according to individual preferences. For example, while one person may consider the quality of life as wealth and employment, another may define it in terms of health and safety.

Difference Between Standard of Living and Quality of Life

Definition

Standard of living is a measure of wealth and material comfort available to a person or community, whereas quality of life is a highly subjective measure that concerns the general well-being of individuals and societies.

Basis

While standard of living is a measurement related to financial components, quality of life includes both financial and non-financial components.

Factors Included

Standard of living includes income, GPD, and economic opportunity, whereas quality of life includes various factors like wealth and employment, education, physical and mental health, safety, recreation and leisure time.

Type of Measure

Furthermore, standard of living is measurable using GDP per capita or other financial measures, whereas quality of life is a subjective and intangible measurement.

Individual Preferences

In addition, standard of living is a standard measurement that does not change according to individual preferences while quality of life may vary according to individual preferences.

Conclusion

In conclusion, standard of living and quality of life are two closely related concepts. The main difference between standard of living and quality of life is that standard of living is a measure of wealth, income and material comfort available to a person or community whereas quality of life is a subjective measure that concerns the general well-being of individuals and societies.

Reference:

1. Amadeo, Kimberly. “Where’s the Best Standard of Living? Depends Who You Ask.” The Balance, 16 Jan. 2020, Available here.
2. Chappelow, Jim. “Standard of Living Definition.” Investopedia, 18 Nov. 2019, Available here.
3. Kagan, Julia. “Understanding Quality of Life.” Investopedia, 18 Nov. 2019, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “World gdp 2007 b” By Homunculus_2 – self-made (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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