Quality of Life Indicators

The Urban Audit in Switzerland has applied the OECD framework for measuring the quality of life in their ten cities.

With a concept of the quality of life an attempt is made to measure the well-being of the population in its various dimensions. Well-being is determined by both material living conditions and the subjective perception of the quality of life. Among the dimensions of material living conditions are Income and Jobs and Housing Conditions. The immaterial dimensions of the quality of life include Health, Education, Environmental Quality, Personal Security, Civic Engagement and Work-Life Balance.

The quality of life dimensions are summarised in the "How’s Life? “[1] report, and describe the quality of life in the OECD countries. To take into account particular circumstances of Swiss cities, and to better depict the attractiveness of individual locations, the quality of life dimensions have been expanded to include Infrastructure and Services, Mobility and Culture and Leisure. Additionally, the topics Economic Context and Demographic Context portray the economic and demographic structure of the cities.

The dimensions vary depending on a city’s or region's spatial structure. The regional aspect of the quality of life concept is also addressed in the OECD report "How's Life in Your Region?". Since 2017, Eurostat has published a selection of indicators in the “Regions and Cities Illustrated” web-based tool.

Quality of life is a multi-dimensional concept in which the dimensions are connected to one another. A good education, for example, can lead to a higher income and in this way positively influence housing conditions.

Everyone aspires to a good quality of life but the individual realisation varies greatly. The quality of life is also shaped by the structures and opportunities available in a particular city. In addition to traditional economic factors such as the taxation rate, the quality of life constitutes an important element in a city's attractiveness. For this reason, the quality of life plays an important part in urban development policy as it attracts people and businesses, thus generating capital for development.

[1] OECD (2011), How’s Life?: Measuring Well-being, OECD Publishing

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