The term quality of life (QOL) references the general well-being of individuals and societies.
The term is used in a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, and politics.
Quality of life should not be confused with the concept of standard of living, which is based primarily on income.
Instead, standard indicators of the quality of life include not only wealth and employment but also the built environment, physical and mental health, education, recreation and leisure time, and social belonging.
According to ecological economist Robert Costanza: "While Quality of Life (QOL) has long been an explicit or implicit policy goal, adequate definition and measurement have been elusive.
Diverse "objective" and "subjective" indicators across a range of disciplines and scales, and recent work on subjective well-being (SWB) surveys and the psychology of happiness have spurred renewed interest."
Also frequently related are concepts such as freedom, human rights, and happiness.
However, since happiness is subjective and difficult to measure, other measures are generally given priority.
It has also been shown that happiness, as much as it can be measured, does not necessarily increase correspondingly with the comfort that results from increasing income.
As a result, standard of living should not be taken to be a measure of happiness.Also sometimes considered related is the concept of human security, though the latter may be considered at a more basic level and for all people.