"Living standard" redirects here. For normative standards implemented as living documents, see Living document
. For WHATWG living standard, see WHATWG
Standard of living
is the level of income, comforts and services available, generally applied to a society or location, rather than to an individual.
Standard of living is relevant because it is considered to contribute to an individual's quality of life
Standard of living is generally concerned with objective metrics outside an individual's personal control, such as economic, societal, political and environmental matters – such things that an individual might consider when evaluating where to live in the world, or when assessing the success of economic policy.
It is affected by factors such as the quality and availability of employment
, class disparity, poverty rate
, quality and housing affordability, hours of work required to purchase necessities, gross domestic product
, inflation rate
, amount of leisure time, access to and quality of healthcare, quality and availability of education
rates, life expectancy, occurrence of diseases, cost of goods and services, infrastructure, access to, quality and affordability of public transportation, national economic growth
, economic and political stability, freedom, environmental quality, climate and safety. For the purposes of economics, politics and policy, it is usually compared across time or between groups defined by social, economic or geographical parameters.
Decent Standard of Living
The standard of living varies between individuals depending on different aspects of life. The standard of living consists of the individuals having the basics such as food, shelter, social interaction which all contribute to their wellbeing and what is considered to be a decent living standard. The decent living standard is also referred to as DLS. The decent living standard revolves around the idea and principle that a majority of the population are in demand for the basics that will allow them to have shelter, food and water, however it is not always able to be maintain for long period of time.
The factors that go into what is considered part of the DLS is made up of individuals having social, economic, and cultural rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
is made up of different articles that states the rights individuals have to basic necessities such as food housing, clothing, water, and sanitation. Article 11 (2) states that humans have the right to receive even in the midst of a disaster. While Article 25 implies that housing is a basic human right that needs to be provided for individuals. The different aspects of standard of living have different parts to it like affordability, accessibility and quality.
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as inflation
-adjusted income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care
, income growth inequality
, and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods (such as the number of refrigerators per 1000 people), or measurement of health such as life expectancy. It is the ease by which people living in a time or place are able to satisfy their needs and/or wants.
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 intangible aspects that make up human life, such as leisure, safety, cultural resources, social life, physical health
, environmental quality issues.
More complex means of measuring well-being must be employed to make such judgments, and these are very often political and controversial. Even between two nations or societies that have similar material standards of living, quality of life factors may make one of these places more attractive to a given person or group.
A method of measurement to indicate the standard of living is by using a tool known as body mass index also known as a BMI
The usage of a tool like the BMI will provide different categories which arrange individuals into groups based on their weight that is correlated to height. The categories are underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obesity. 
An individual's BMI has a positive correlation to individuals socio-economic factors.
These socio-economics factors include incomes, education, employment, community safety and social support.
The different BMI of individuals across a group provides a different levels of social class between individuals.
Factors that influence standards of living
- Economy: When looking at the standards of living in a country, GDP is the most common method of measurement, but can be inaccurate. A country may have a high GDP, therefore a high level of income, with no corresponding increase in living standards. This may be due to the levels of pollution within a country, the absence of leisure time/longer hours worked per person per day, rising levels of crime, obesity, alcoholism, drug abuse etc, or unequal income distribution. In China, which has the second-highest GDP in the world, the levels of pollution are high, causing 1.25 million deaths a year.
- Education: Education is one of the basis of economic development and societal advancement. As a matter of fact, the right to education is one of the factors that may be used to measure the quality of life. In addition to that, not only that investment in education improves human capital, it also increases productivity which therefore increases standard of living. "Productivity has grown more in states with greater growth in the educational attainment of their workforce.” Therefore we can conclude that the higher one’s education attainment the more one is able to work and earn to live a life of quality. The power of education attainment in raising one’s income has been growing for decades.
- Corruption: The standard of living can easily start to plummet when corruption is high. Corruption can highly influence the economy by the misuse of money or authority to negatively and/or illegally achieve certain goals. with a high level of corruption will not flourish or be prosperous. In turn, directly effect the standard of living and all around negatively impact society. Health care and education tend to suffer from corruption as well, deteriorating the standard of living even further. The average income of countries with a high level of corruption is around 1/3 of the average income of countries that have less corruption. Countries with less corruption tend to have a lower infant mortality rate and a higher literary rate, around 25%.
- Poverty: When mentioning the standard of living, poverty is one of the most overlooked factors that influences the standard of living. With the coronavirus pandemic changing the U.S. landscape, millions of families are faced with difficult decisions such as missing a paycheck or risking their families safety. A lack of income in lower-income communities, research has shown the relationship between a lack of income and chronic health such as heart disease, exposure to COVID-19, and diabetes in lower income communities. Due to the lack of resources, this increased the chances of people living in poverty contracting the virus. Poverty is often a byproduct of economic inequality which is connected to the racial divide in income and wealth.  The living or minimum wage plays a part in individuals ability to get basic necessities. In New Zealand it was found that raising the minimum wage to $20 dollars for two adults who work 60 hours a day and 52 weeks in a year will be able to support themselves and not fall into the poverty category. However, the minimum wage being $20 will only support a household with two adults with two children and not a single parent household. The reason for increasing the minimum wage is to decrease the gap between the high income and low income groups.
- Health Care System": There is a strong correlation between standard of living and the quality of healthcare. The quality of healthcare and standard of living are both low in poor developing countries while both are much better in developed countries. According to a report by the World Health, developing countries experience higher levels of inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, inappropriate treatment, inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities or practices, or providers who lack adequate training and expertise because of their low quality of life. The same report found that in low and middle-income African countries, health care workers were able to make accurate diagnosis only up to three quarters of the time.
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Last edited on 15 April 2021, at 09:33
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