standard of living

standard of living

Level of material comfort that an individual or group aspires to or may achieve. This includes not only privately purchased goods and services but collectively consumed goods and services such as those provided by public utilities and governments. A standard of living determined for a group such as a country must be examined critically in terms of its constituent values. If the mean value increases over time, but at the same time the rich become richer and the poor poorer, the group may not be collectively better off. Various quantitative indicators can be used as measuring rods, including life expectancy, access to nutritious food and a safe water supply, and availability of medical care.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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