Starting from 2012, the National Statistical Office launched efforts to develop an index that can measure the quality of life. The index consists of 12 categories comprising 80 items ranging from income to consumption, employment, wage, social welfare, residence, health, citizen participation, safety, and the environment.
After five years of research, the statistical bureau released the “Life Quality Comprehensive Index” on March 15. The index stood at 111.8 in 2015, up 11.8 percentage points from the base year in 2006. During the same period, Korea’s GDP grew 28.6 percent.
In other words, there was a big gap between the level of improvement in the quality of life in Korea and the level of economic development as measured by GDP growth.
The gap between the growth in GDP and the improvement in the quality of life is not unique in Korea. The situation is similar in Canada, a country benchmarked by the National Statistical Office. During the period from 2006 to 2015, Canada’s per-capita GDP rose 8.8 percent but its life quality comprehensive index rose merely 3.9 percent.
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