Quality of life in Europe – opportunities and threats for an objective evaluation

Karel Macků (Palacký University Olomouc)

One of the many current activities of the European Union focuses its attention on monitoring the development of society. The European Commission’s initiative‚ “GDP and beyond – measuring progress in a changing world”, requests for new tools and approaches for measuring and comparing quality of life across Europe. There is an abundance of free statistical and spatial data relating to evaluation of quality of life. The question arises whether such data is adequate enough to deal with regional spatial resolution, represented by, e.g., NUTS 2 or NUTS 3 classification. This contribution discusses the opportunities for evaluating quality of life based on the integration of spatial and statistical data at regional level in order to gain a better insight into the quality of life across Europe. To begin with, the authors propose a theoretical approach to evaluating quality of life, which is subsequently confronted with the of the available relevant pan-European regional statistical and spatial data. Applicability of the primary European statistical data sources is discussed, as well as the possibility of deriving indicators from spatial data. Statistical analyses, such as the synthetic indicator design and classification of the administrative units, are presented duly supported by relevant geovisualisation in order to deliver the evaluation outputs. In the results, information derived from statistical/spatial data linked to administrative units dataset show conclusively the distribution of the most (un)developed regions in European countries as regards the topic of quality of life.