Quality of life in Europe

Are people in European Union happy? How is their life quality?

First of all, there is a question, how to measure the quality of life. The OECD has a new way to rank the life quality in countries around the world. Called “The Better Life Index,” the new OECD data set ranks countries based on things like the employment situation, leisure time, and life expectancy.

The most important fact while speaking about the quality of life in the EU are the differences between countries. Surveys show that people from countries that entered the EU sooner have a better life standards. Maybe membership in EU is the factor that could influence the development of the country, but for sure the first countries that entered the EU were the big successful countries with strong economies as Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, …

The Eurofound stated an interesting survey about the European Quality of Life. It took place from the end of September 2011 to early February 2012 in the 27 European Union Member States. The results are shown in the video below.


The other interesting facts are provided in Numbeo database in survey of the life quality differences between the countries in the world. In the next picture you can see, that the European countries do pretty good comparing to the rest of the world except of the North America.

quality of life in the world

What about the European cities and their quality of life? The top spot has Vienna as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey. The rest of the top 10 for Europe are dominated by German and Swiss cities. Zurich is followed by Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen and Bern. The lowest-ranking cities are Athens and Belfast.

The other important fact is, that the quality of life in EU went down in last years because of the global financial crises. Declines of over 20% in levels of optimism and happiness are reported in some countries across the EU and over a third of people indicate a deterioration in their financial situation over the past five years. Since the year 2007 more people who had good income and were in good quality housing are now struggling with unemployment, debts, housing insecurity and access to services. The countries with the biggest problems of changing the life quality to worse are Greece, Spain and Portugal, Bulgaria, Hungary,… People living in the Northern countries are still holding the better quality of life.







Authors: Veronika Müllerová, Matej Vician, Helena Wenzelová, Zsolt Farkas.


12 thoughts on “Quality of life in Europe

  1. I just had a look at my country’s performance according to the Better Life index and I wonder if it might in a way confirm stereotypes about Poland. We are said to be constantly dissatisfied and complaining, but not willing to actively change things. The study shows that for most of the indicators we scored under average. We’re not satisfied with income, housing and healthcare and our life satisfaction is only 2.5, which ranks us within the bottom 10. But at the same time our civic engagement is 5.2, with voter turnover of 54% in the last elections, significantly lower than EU 73% average. Maybe stereotypes have a bit of truth in them after all?

  2. I think there are a lot of threats regarding the living quality in our future. Like you said because of the financial crisis, there is an increasing unemployment and poverty. Here is the growing risk that the poverty is “inherited” from one generation to the next generation. We have to consider that the divide between rich and poor will be even bigger in our future. And that in return will affect the quality of life in Europe

  3. Statistics about the “quality of life” are interesting, but I think it’s very difficult to sum up entire populations. In my opinion there are big differences and so the “statistic” becomes less important. But the trend is regardless existing.
    In my opinion, it depends also on the society and the culture of the country. I’ve the impression that people here in Spain are partially more pleased than people in my home country, whereas Spain is definitively hit harder by the current economic crisis. I think we can describe it with “complain on a high level”.
    Regarding the perspective “European Union” I think that some countries joined this union with too high expectations. There is always the discussion about successful and suffering countries of the EU. But I think that the situation wasn’t very different before.
    There were countries with better and countries with less successful economies. Just because all countries are a member of the EU, it doesn’t mean that they will achieve the same living-standard etc. One reason and simultaneous a problem is the largely autonomy of the governments. The organization of some governments is better than others (e.g. fundamental approaches, corruption of politicians etc. …I won’t pillory special ones!), what is surely an element of success or failure.
    The EU should definitely do one’s bit and I think they’re already do! A “bail out fund” with a volume of 700 billion €. But basically the Government of the affected country has to manage the main efforts.
    All countries are suffering from the crisis, the poorer countries probably perceive it rather/faster.

    • Totally agree. In some cases of cultures, people are satisfied with the lower standard and in the other ones people are not satisfied with the higher. It is just interesting to show in how much different conditions different people live 🙂

  4. I agree that currently there are a big differences between the “old” and “new” Member States of EU and between the countries from the north and south of Europe. It shouldn’t be like this, but I doubt that this will change.
    The accession to the EU gives a lot of opportunities such as the free movement of citizens to other countries. It is always a way to improve the quality of life. Of course, now because of the crisis is more difficult, but it does not mean that it is impossible. I heard that in the second half of 2013 the economy will be better. That is why I believe that the quality of life in all EU countries will improve.

    • I thing this is pretty sure. When the country joins the EU, you cannot see the improvement in a second. So that’s why the countries that entered the EU can show us the influence on the economy so well. But the other thing is, that the first EU countries were pretty successful countries with strong economies.

  5. The topic “Quality of life” is very interesting, and theres much space to talk about it. I live in Germany, and I think the living standards there are very high, compared to other countries. I just had a look to the “Better life Index” in Germany, and the results are not a surprise for me. In general, Germans are slightly more satisfied with their lives than other OECD citizens, with 81% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness etc).
    It is hard to compile a statistic of this topic, and the results are not according for every person in the country. Overall, it is interesting to see how the OECD categorise the living standard in other countries .

  6. I agree with your opinions, that situation In Europe is worse because of financial crisis. In my home country- Slovakia, many people lost their jobs because of crisis. Some regions have 35% unemployment rate and I do not think that the situation of quality life will be solved in short-term. Government should accept reform that would solve problems like high unemployment in long- term.

  7. The article is very interesting. I agree with that quality of life highly depends on what is
    happening in the global market and is related to financial crisis. However, it seems to me that it is important to approach people for how they want to live. An important role is the government, which in times of financial crises should endeavor as soon as possible to improve the

  8. I am interested in your article Quality of life in Europe.I have been to Germany and I agree with your opinion.For example German education system is much more geared to vocational training than many of its economic competitors.That is why successeful generation is raising in different important field.

  9. From what i know the quality of life of Europeans is also subject which is specially monitored by the Commission in the European Union. The financial crisis, unemployment and increasing racial tensions or the widening gap between rich and poor people always cause trouble, so it’s no wonder that people are losing confidence in state institutions and thus decreasing their overall satisfaction. However, is not as tragic as it sounds – the standard of living in Europe is still stable.


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