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, literacy 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 maintained for a 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.