What Does Quality of Life Mean to You?

In 2013, a couple of European psychologists reviewed the literature in an attempt to define the term “quality of life.” Their conclusion was that it “turn[s] out to be an ambiguous and elusive concept.”

In an editorial in the Chapel Hill News, Travis Crayton and Molly DeMarco claimed “Many of us might have originally chosen to live in Chapel Hill/Carrboro because of the high quality of life, exemplified by a vibrant student life, arts and music scene, and abundance of unique, local businesses.”

CHALT members have staked out their desire to “Protect the quality of life in Chapel Hill’s residential neighborhoods, where we live and raise our children.”

Social science researchers learn in introductory methodology courses to define their terms up front. So I am asking you to share your thoughts. What does ‘quality of life’ mean to you? We know there isn’t a “right” answer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come to a local consensus. If we can construct a shared definition, perhaps it will make conversations about solutions more inclusive, or at least less divisive.

I have posted this same request on Chapel Hill Watch, a blog that targets a different demographic. My plan is to take the contributions and compose a definition and share it in my next Chapel Hill News column. If you are willing to let me use your name (for those who post with their real names) in that article, please include the “You may use my name” at the end of your first post in the thread.


I posted this a couple of days ago; not sure how it disappeared.

It is an ambiguous phrase which means something different to almost everyone using it. In policy discussions, we should encourage participants to be specific and avoid using this phrase which means everything and nothing simultaneously.

from Herbert Hoover (the esteemed worst president until Bush Jr. came along & took that mantle without debate):

"Wants are almost insatiable," claimed President Herbert Hoover's report on the economy, published just months before the 1929 crash. "One want satisfied makes way for another.... We have a boundless field before us; there are new wants that will make way endlessly for newer wants, as fast as they are satisfied... by advertising and other promotional devices, by scientific fact finding, by a carefully predeveloped consumption, a measurable pull on production has been created... it would seem that we can go on with increasing activity."


I just returned from a trip to Honduras so here is a bit different take on quality of life: Freedom from fear of crime: kidnapping, impuesto de guerra (pay gang money or get killed), theft; Clean Water; Reliable electricity; Access to the internet; Food; Safe public transportation; Good public schools; Parks to play in ; Protected watersheds; Honest not corrupt public officials; No political violence; Right to unionize; Funded national parks; Health clinics with medicine; Employment; Music


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