The future of the quality of life
Quality of life can be defined as the sum of subjective perceptions. The concept covers, on the one hand, a person’s individual position in life in relation to the culture and value system in which they live; on the other hand, it refers to the person’s own goals, expectations, standards and concerns.
As a multidimensional construct, quality of life is measured using a number of indicators. Within the context of its time series research, the Foundation asks about these indicators and analyses the approval ratings in the annual comparison.
One key result arising from this research is that if ‘quality of life’ was mostly equated with ‘standard of living’ in the consumption-focused 1980s and 1990s, research work conducted since 2000 shows the emergence of a different trend in society: ‘quality of life’ has acquired greater importance and from now on will be defined primarily by non-tangible values. Nine out of ten German citizens therefore cite health and friendship as important indicators for quality of life while eight out of ten Germans cite family and partners. In contrast, consumption is seen by only slightly more than half of Germans as an important component of quality of life.
This reversal of the trend in society towards a better quality of life has far-reaching consequences for policy makers and the business sector. In the future, politicians and political parties will be measured increasingly by whether and how they improve the social infrastructure and living conditions in our society. The growth paradigm of the economy will also be considered differently by people – and thus by customers and employees – in terms of quality of life (such as a work life balance or a sustainable value added chain).
In the future, quality of life will continue to be at the heart of our canon of values, as it has the ability, as a value, to exert a collective influence but at same time also leaves room for individual interpretation. Quality of life therefore offers the possibility of guidance in our multi-option society and is developing into a vision that can define everyday life in three ways: individually, socioculturally and economically.