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standard of living

standard of living, level of consumption that an individual, group, or nation has achieved. The evaluation of a standard of living is relative, depending upon the judgment of the observer as to what constitutes a high or a low scale. A relative index to the standard of living of a certain economic group can be gathered from a comparison of the cost of living and the wage scale or personal income. Factors such as discretionary income are important, but standard of living includes not only the material articles of consumption but also the number of dependents in a family, the environment, the educational opportunities, and the amount spent for health, recreation, and social services. Unemployment, low wages, crowded living conditions, and physical calamities, such as drought, flood, or war, may bring a drop in the standard of living, and, conversely, an increase in social benefits and higher wages may bring about a rise. While standard of living may vary greatly among various groups within a country, it also varies from nation to nation, and international comparisons are sometimes made by analyzing gross national products, per capita incomes, or any number of other indicators from life expectancy to clean water. Overall, industrialized nations tend to have a higher standard of living than developing countries. In the United States, as in most Western nations, the standard of living has shown a steady trend upward.

See F. J. Bayliss, The Standard of Living (1969); B. Mieczkowski and O. Zinam, Bureaucracy, Technology, Ideology: Quality of Life East and West (1984).

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Standard of Living

STANDARD OF LIVING


Standard of living refers to the level of material well-being enjoyed by an individual or group. The standard of living is generally measured by the collective cost of goods and services that is considered to represent the essential consumption of any society's members. By some measures, the standard of living will also include certain publicly provided services, such as education, health services, transportation, and intangible quality of life factors like clean water and air, and cultural and leisure activities.

The term standard of living may also refer to the goals that individuals or groups obtain for themselves as consumers in terms of services, housing, furnishings, or automobiles. In the United States during the 1960s, the United States government's definition of poverty was developed as a variant of the general concept of the standard of living in the country. In 1996, for example, the average poverty line for a four-person family was a little over $16,000. The indexes used to measure poverty and create specific dollar amounts to define poverty are based on arguably variable statistics, but the fact that a poverty index has been established bears witness that U.S. society appears to recognize what seems to be a baseline financial standard of living and is able to approximate those who are living below the current indexed standard during any given year.

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"Standard of Living." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Standard of Living." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/standard-living

"Standard of Living." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/standard-living

standard of living

stand·ard of liv·ing • n. the degree of wealth and material comfort available to a person or community.

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"standard of living." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"standard of living." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/standard-living

"standard of living." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/standard-living