The distribution of subjective well-being in Austria and EU-28

Friday, 3 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
CLM.7.03 (Clement House)
Franz Eiffe, Statistics Austria, Vienna, Austria
In the course of the project "How’s Austria?" (H’sA?), Statistics Austria has developed a set of indicators, which reflect the different dimensions of prosperity and progress by exploiting available statistical data from official sources (national accounts, large-scale surveys). The newly developed set of indicators provides concise interactive information and key indicators for the three dimensions of "Material Wealth", "Quality of Life" and "Environmentally-oriented Sustainability", which complement the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and, thus, contribute to a broader understanding of prosperity growth of our society. The preparation and analysis of available data with a new perspective is a core task of communicating the relevance of wellbeing indicators beyond GDP. The analysis of distribution is a crucial part of this project and concerns not only material but also non-material aspects of life quality. The H’sA? set contains an indicator on the overall life satisfaction which was the starting point for our analysis.

In this paper, we examine the determinants of life satisfaction (that can be observed in the EU-SILC 2013 ad-hoc moduel on subjective well-being) and analyse the relationships with other quality of life key indicators. How does Austria compare to other EU Member States? What are the Austrian specificities and how is the situation in EU-28 as a whole? The descriptive analysis of various socio-demographic groups shows that particularly young persons, people who live in partnership and persons in the higher income groups are among those with highest life satisfaction values. Values of life satisfaction below average, on the other hand, can be found in the groups of non-EU-citizens, separated or divorced people and people in the lowest income quintile. These results provide the basis for linear regressions that are carried out in a second step (for Austria and EU-28). The regression analysis confirms that – above all – material living conditions (such as low income or deprivation), labour market related aspects (e.g. unemployment) and bad health have the strongest negative impact on subjective well-being.