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Standard of Living vs. Quality of Life: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Aimie Carlson || Published on November 30, 2023
Standard of living refers to economic wealth and comfort level, while quality of life encompasses overall well-being, including emotional and physical health.

Key Differences

Standard of living primarily measures economic factors like income, employment, and housing. Quality of life, however, includes broader aspects such as health, education, environment, and emotional well-being.
Standard of living is about the level of wealth, comfort, material goods, and necessities available. In contrast, quality of life assesses how these factors contribute to overall happiness and satisfaction with life.
Standard of living can be measured quantitatively through GDP per capita, income levels, and access to services. Quality of life, however, is more qualitative, encompassing personal experiences, freedom, leisure, and social belonging.
Standard of living is often indicated by objective economic indicators. Quality of life, on the other hand, is subjective, varying based on individual perceptions and values.
Standard of living focuses on physical comfort and financial security. Quality of life encompasses a broader range, including mental health, community engagement, and life satisfaction.

Comparison Chart


Economic status and material wealth
Overall well-being, including health and happiness


Income, employment, housing quality
Health, education, environment, emotional well-being


Quantitative, objective
Qualitative, subjective


GDP per capita, access to services
Personal experiences, freedom, leisure


Physical and financial comfort
Holistic view of life satisfaction

Standard of Living and Quality of Life Definitions

Standard of Living

Economic status as determined by income, employment, and class disparity.
The standard of living has improved significantly with the rise in average incomes.

Quality of Life

An assessment of life conditions including environment, physical health, and emotional stability.
The city's low pollution levels contribute positively to the residents' quality of life.

Standard of Living

The degree of wealth and material comfort available to a person or community.
The city's high standard of living is evident in its upscale neighborhoods and advanced infrastructure.

Quality of Life

The general well-being of individuals and societies, encompassing happiness and health.
Quality of life improves with access to green spaces and recreational activities.

Standard of Living

A level of financial health, comfort, and necessities available.
Countries with a high standard of living often have better healthcare and education systems.

Quality of Life

The overall enjoyment of life, including both physical and psychological aspects.
A balanced work-life dynamic is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life.

Standard of Living

The availability of goods, services, and luxuries to a particular group.
Technological advancements have greatly enhanced the standard of living.

Quality of Life

The extent to which people's needs and desires are met.
Good quality of life often correlates with strong community bonds and support systems.

Standard of Living

A measure of economic and physical well-being in society.
Government policies aim to raise the standard of living for underprivileged communities.

Quality of Life

A measure of personal comfort, emotional well-being, and life satisfaction.
Her quality of life improved dramatically after moving to a less stressful job.


What factors influence standard of living?

Economic factors like income, employment, and access to services.

What does standard of living refer to?

It refers to the level of wealth, comfort, and material goods available.

How is quality of life different from standard of living?

Quality of life encompasses overall well-being, including emotional, social, and physical aspects, beyond just material wealth.

Are health and education part of quality of life?

Yes, they are crucial components of quality of life.

Can standard of living be quantitatively measured?

Yes, through indicators like income levels and housing quality.

How does employment affect standard of living?

Employment stability and wage levels directly impact standard of living.

Can standard of living be high but quality of life low?

Yes, if material wealth does not translate into happiness and well-being.

Is quality of life subjective?

Yes, it varies based on individual perceptions and values.

What is the relationship between standard of living and economic policies?

Economic policies can significantly affect a nation's standard of living by influencing employment and income levels.

What role does housing play in standard of living?

Quality and affordability of housing are key factors in standard of living.

How does physical health impact quality of life?

Good physical health is crucial for a high quality of life.

Is standard of living only about income?

While income is a key component, it also includes factors like housing and employment.

Can a person's quality of life improve without changes in standard of living?

Yes, through factors like improved health, relationships, or work-life balance.

Can a country's GDP indicate its standard of living?

GDP per capita is a common indicator of a country's standard of living.

Does quality of life include environmental factors?

Yes, factors like pollution and access to nature impact quality of life.

Can social relationships influence quality of life?

Strong social relationships and community ties greatly enhance quality of life.

Is access to technology part of standard of living?

Yes, it influences the level of comfort and access to information.

Does quality of life include leisure and recreation?

Yes, these aspects are important for overall life satisfaction.

Does quality of life vary from person to person?

Yes, it's a subjective measure and varies based on individual experiences.

Can cultural factors affect standard of living?

Yes, cultural norms and values can influence economic conditions and thus the standard of living.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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