[Excerpt] How can data on subjective well-being – how people perceive the quality of their lives – be used in policy? And are such data relevant in the context of the economic challenges that Europe is currently facing? This report draws out new policy-relevant findings from the third wave of Eurofound’s European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS), conducted in 2011–2012. It shows how data on well-being can help policymakers identify the groups and countries that are bearing the brunt of the economic crisis, as well as those that are holding out better than expected, and provides a new layer of evidence to aid policy decisions.
The report compares countries and groups across the then 27 EU Member States, identifying the determinants of well-being and the factors that might protect individuals from low well-being. It also looks at how subjective well-being has changed between 2007 and 2011 in the EU as a whole and in individual Member States. The report goes beyond the use of reported life satisfaction to consider a full range of subjective well-being concepts, including hedonic well-being (short-term feelings), eudaimonic well-being (how well people are functioning in their lives) and satisfaction with different aspects of life.