How is Malta doing? Measuring quality of life in the EU

Maltese quality of life ranked at 7.2 according to GDP indicators

What is quality of life and how can its different aspects be measured appropriately?

A new online publication on Quality of life indicators released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness established by the United Nations measures complement the one indicator, GDP, traditionally used for measuring economic, and often social, development.

The top ranked country in Europe is Denmark which consistently tops polls of countries with the best quality of life. Its ranking is 8.4. Other countries which score highly on the overall experience of life are Sweden (8.0), Finland (8.0) Luxembourg (7.8), Malta (7.7) and Netherlands (7.7).

Two examples from health and education, which are important determinants of the quality of life of individuals.

The overall health level of a society is related to its GDP, but the correlation becomes weaker after a certain level of economic development is reached.

Based on the relation between the two, EU Member States can be broadly divided into three groups. Those in the central and eastern EU have relatively lower life expectancy and relatively lower GDP per capita. Those in the southern EU, have a higher GDP per capita and a life expectancy which reaches the highest values, while those in the western and northern EU have the highest GDP per capita, but life expectancy at around the same level as in some of the southern Member States, or even slightly lower.

Early school leavers

Early school leavers face a higher risk of social exclusion and poverty, according to research, and societies need to strive to reduce the number of young people in this situation.

There is no clear correlation between GDP per capita and the proportion of early school leavers: while most of the western and northern Member States have high GDP per capita and shares of early school leavers lower than the European average, the lowest shares of early school leavers have been achieved in a group of Member States mostly in the central and eastern EU, all with lower GDP per capita.