Well-Being, Quality of Life, Progress and Human Development Index

Welfare and Quality of Life Index

The Well-Being Index (IBE) intends to be a measure of the quality of life and human development, with a broader scope. The well-being and human and social progress that the indicator intends to measure does not mean a higher or lower level of happiness, as this feeling is more volatile and subjective.

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Well being, quality of life and happiness

In some cases, we are happy when our club won and unhappy if it lost, without this having any relationship with the quality of life, although this can influence the feeling of happiness.

However, the level of well-being of the population must be measured in some way.

If there is no measure, it is not possible to know whether we have improved or deteriorated and, therefore, it will not be possible to know the result of measures that have been taken, nor to find ways to improve.

As I said Albert Einstein "Insofar as the propositions of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain and, insofar as they are right, they do not refer to reality".

The concept of well-being covers the material conditions of life, such as remuneration for work or economic vulnerability, but not only that!

The level of quality of life also depends on having a well-structured health, the quality of education and the environment, the level of civic and democratic participation or access to cultural and leisure activities.

Human development indicators

It is not just for the governments of countries that this indicator is important.

It also serves for citizens, in general, to be able to analyze and discuss based on something concrete and comparable.

This Well-Being Index (IBE) is complementary information to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The GDP is related to the production of economic wealth in the country, but it does not consider issues relevant to the well-being of humanity, such as health, the quality of the environment and personal safety, among others, which allow us a level of well-being. be bigger.

They are diverse and complementary ways of analyzing and measuring the degree of development and progress of our society.

Thus, these objective indicators can help to stimulate dialogue between those who promote economic and social progress and citizens in general.

It is a useful tool for public and private decision makers, opinion leaders, government officials, researchers, the media and the general public.

Well-being and human progress index

The wellness index is released annually by the INE and also accessible on Pordata.

A OECD publishes indicators of progress and human development for the countries that are part of it and some that do not belong to the Organization, such as Brazil, designated by the “Better Life Index”.

Based on data from INE and provided by Pordata, we can, in summary, show the evolution of the global well-being index.

This well-being index (IBE) is composed of two main strands of analysis, considered important for human progress.

  • Material living conditions of families, with 3 domains of analysis, work, economic well-being and economic vulnerability
  • Quality of life, with 7 domains of analysis, health, balance of personal and professional life, education, social relations, civic participation, personal safety and environment

Each of these 10 domains encompasses a total of 74 well-being indicators

Tab 1 - Well-being index; Source: Pordata, July 2021
YearsGlobal well-being indexMaterial Conditions of Living IndexQuality of Life Index
2004 23,5 18,1 26,3
2005 28,2 26,5 29,0
2006 30,5 30,8 30,4
2007 29,9 32,1 29,0
2008 30,0 32,6 28,9
2009 32,4 35,3 31,2
2010 34,0 34,4 33,9
2011 34,0 29,9 35,9
2012 32,8 24,8 36,9
2013 33,8 23,2 39,7
2014 35,9 26,8 40,7
2015 40,1 31,5 44,5
2016 43,9 35,0 48,4
2017 46,4 41,0 48,9
2018 48,3 45,8 49,4
2019 Pre 50,0 48,5 50,7

Thus, the global well-being index it has always improved since 2004, from 23,5 to 50,0, which was the forecast for 2019, that is, an evolution of 212%.

Both aspects, material living conditions and quality of life, have evolved well, particularly the material conditions of life.

Index of material living conditions

We found that, although globally the well-being index has improved, the aspect of material living conditions evolved from 18,1 to 48,5, a substantial increase, in this 15-year period of 268%.

It is, therefore, the biggest contributor to the global well-being index.

This index is composed of three domains: economic well-being; economic vulnerability; and work and remuneration.

However, in this aspect of material living conditions, we see that employment (work and remuneration) has had a little positive evolution, always decreasing until 2013 and, from 2014, with slight increases. It still does not reach the value of 2004.

The value is estimated at 55,4 for 2019, lower than in 2004, with 65,7.

Tab 2 - Material living conditions index; Source: Pordata, July 2021
YearsEconomic well-beingEconomic vulnerabilityWork and Remuneration
2004 1,8 49,5 65,7
2005 5,8 52,5 61,7
2006 9,3 51,4 61,4
2007 11,7 48,2 58,7
2008 12,8 46,9 57,7
2009 17,1 47,9 53,6
2010 18,2 48,9 45,7
2011 16,8 43,8 36,3
2012 15,8 35,0 27,7
2013 17,3 28,8 25,0
2014 20,0 31,3 30,8
2015 22,6 40,4 34,0
2016 24,0 46,3 38,4
2017 27,7 53,3 46,7
2018 30,5 59,3 53,2
2019 Prev 32,4 63,6 55,4

Although the numbers do not say everything, there is no doubt that this negative trend is relevant and deserves our attention.

Economic vulnerability reached a minimum value in 2013 and has been recovering since 2017 with a value of 53,3 higher than the 2004 value of 49,5.

quality of life index

Another aspect of well-being, the quality of life index, improved from 26,3 to 50,7, up 193%.

Here, seven domains of analysis are encompassed, such as: a health; work-life balance; education, knowledge and skills; social relationships and subjective well-being; civic participation and governance; security personal; e environment.

Tab 3 - Quality of life index; Source: Pordata, July 2021
YearsHealthLife-work balanceEducation, knowledge and skillsSocial relations and subjective well-beingCivic participation and governancePersonal securityEnvironment
2004 24,0 31,5 14,0 30,9 17,5 32,5 46,7
2005 34,5 33,6 14,0 30,1 18,4 39,3 48,5
2006 40,3 35,0 14,8 29,3 17,4 42,2 53,2
2007 38,7 36,7 16,6 21,6 16,4 42,3 49,1
2008 40,8 38,1 20,3 13,9 16,7 39,6 57,9
2009 40,0 41,5 22,6 22,3 15,0 39,3 58,6
2010 45,7 43,9 24,9 30,8 13,1 39,4 64,3
2011 46,4 43,3 30,1 30,9 13,4 46,8 66,1
2012 48,9 43,5 28,8 31,1 14,5 49,5 68,6
2013 50,4 41,8 31,4 29,1 20,3 55,6 71,7
2014 42,3 40,7 35,1 27,2 25,8 61,8 70,3
2015 44,0 40,7 39,4 36,6 29,9 64,1 70,1
2016 47,2 39,8 41,9 46,0 32,7 72,2 72,3
2017 48,9 39,7 43,3 47,8 34,2 69,7 70,2
2018 47,8 40,4 45,3 49,7 34,9 66,8 71,4
2019 Prev 50,4 40,5 47,0 50,1 35,3 69,7 72,6

The feeling of security maintains an upward trajectory and will reach 69,7 in 2019, an increase of 214% due to the trust in the various police forces and the low crime rate.

What rose the most was the indicator education, knowledge and skills from 14,0 to 47,0 (335% increase) with a consistent evolution, except in the year 2012 and the lowest increase was the indicator of work-life balance, as it has been declining since 2014, not yet reaching the value of 43,9 in 2010 (128%).

A health it is one of the fastest growing indicators, going from 24,0 in 2004 to 50,4 in 2019 (210%). It ranks 3rd in the 7 domains of quality of life.

Also the social relationships and subjective well-being they only start to rise from 2015, reaching 50,1 in 2019 (162%).

A civic participation and governance with 35,3 in 2019 notes a reasonable increase since 2004 with 17,5 (201%).

O environment has gained increasing relevance and the indicator shows an increase of 155%. Our “star indicator” with 72,6 is the 1st of these 7 domains of quality of life, whose global index is 50,7, a difference of 43%.

Human progress depends a lot on these factors.

Well-Being Index in OECD Countries

Let us now compare some indicators of the “Better Life Index” of the OECD between Portugal, Brazil and Sweden.

Tab 4 - Quality of Life Indicators; Source: OECD, July 2021
StrandIndicatorItemsPortugalSwedenBrazil
LarHomes without basic facilities%106,7
LarHouse expenses%2119..
LarRooms per personRatio1,71,7..
PerformanceNet disposable income adjusted to householdsU.S. $2120331287..
PerformanceHousehold net wealthU.S. $232666....
Workinsecurity labor market%103,2..
WorkEmployment tax%687761
Worklong term unemployment rate%4,431,12..
WorkAnnual salaryU.S. $2536742393..
CommunityQuality of the support structure%889190
Educationschool success rate%488349
EducationStudent competencesAverage score497496395
Educationyears of educationYears16,919,316,2
EnvironmentAir pollutionµg / m310610
EnvironmentWater quality%869673
Civic ParticipationCommitment of stakeholders to the development of regulationAverage score1,522,2
Civic ParticipationTurnout%568679
HealthLife expectancyYears81,282,474,8
Healthself-reported health%4875..
Satisfactionlife satisfactionAverage score5,47,36,4
SecurityFeeling of security walking only at night%73,475,635,6
Securityhomicide rateRatio10,926,7
Family Work BalanceExcessive working hours%8,271,077,13
Family Work BalanceLeisure time and personal careHours..15,18..

Portugal has standards below Sweden, in terms of insecurity in the labor market, employment rate, long-term unemployment, excessive working hours and school success rate.

Brazil, with less positive indicators in basic housing facilities, homicide rate, water quality and even life expectancy.

Sweden has better indicators in labor income, water quality, air pollution, turnout and life satisfaction.

Portugal is slightly better in student skills, a good contribution to human development.

See too


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