Social Indicators Research

, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 153-167

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Social Quality: A Way to Measure the Quality of Society

  • Pamela AbbottAffiliated withUniversity of Aberdeen
  • , Claire WallaceAffiliated withUniversity of AberdeenEuropean Quality of Life Surveys Email author 


In this paper we suggest a way to measure the well-being of society based upon our own development of the Social Quality model. The Social Quality model has the advantage of being sociologically grounded as a measure of the well-being of society and the individuals within it. We test our model of Social Quality against life satisfaction as an indicator of how successful it is in delivering these aspirations. The model was tested on all European countries using the European Quality of Life Surveys in 2003 and 2007 and was found to explain a large amount of variance, which was consistent across time and space. We suggest that it is possible to operationalise this model using small number of variables, ones that are frequently used in comparative surveys and this should enable the quality of society to be measured in a parsimonious and effective way.


Social quality Quality of life European comparison Subjective well-being Life satisfaction