The Measurement of Multidimensional Quality of Life in Ireland

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The purpose of this technical paper is to develop a multidimensional Quality of Life (QoL) index using data from the core 2013 Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) and its special module on quality of life. The paper profiles the levels and composition of QoL deficits experienced by different age groups and social classes in 2013. It also examines the association between multidimensional QoL and indicators of at-risk-of-poverty, basic deprivation and consistent poverty.

An index of 11 QoL indicators is developed to measure QoL on 9 dimensions: material disadvantage, financial strain, health problems, mental distress, housing problems, neighbourhood problems, lack of social support, institutional mistrust and lack of safety, and the index is calibrated around the income poverty measure. An individual is defined as multiply deprived if s/he experiences 3 or more QoL deficits ('levels') of 11.

The research finds that just over one-quarter of the Irish adult population in 2013 (25.5 per cent) are multiply deprived ('level'). Those multiply deprived experience, on average, a deficiency in just over 4 of 11 indicators ('intensity'). In line with income poverty and deprivation measures, the research finds that the elderly experience lower levels of QoL deprivation, whereas younger adults experience higher QoL deprivation. While the level of QoL deprivation varies more by social class than age group, the composition of QoL deprivation varies more by age group than by social class.

The technical paper is an output of the Department's research programme with the ESRI for the Analysis and Measurement of Poverty and Social Exclusion.


Last modified:13/07/2016