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Life Satisfaction Index

Indicator Phrasing

average life satisfaction score for [specify: women / men / others] aged [specify age range]
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: average life satisfaction score for [specify: women / men / others] aged [specify age range]

French: score moyen de satisfaction de la vie [spécifier : femmes/ hommes/ autres] âgé[e]s de [ préciser le groupe d'âge]

Portuguese: pontuação média de satisfação com a vida para [especifique: mulheres / homens / outros] com idade [especifique faixa etária]

Czech: průměrné skóre spokojenosti se současným životem u [určete: žen / mužů / jiné] ve věku [určete věkovou skupinu]

What is its purpose?

This indicator measures people’s subjective satisfaction with their current lives – an important aspect of their well-being. It effectively complements other indicators of people’s well-being, such as their income or health.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of your target group members:



Q1: [this question uses an illustration that can be downloaded at the bottom of this page]

All things considered, how satisfied are you with your current life as a whole? If we use this scale on which 1 means you are “completely dissatisfied” and 10 means you are “completely satisfied” where would you put your satisfaction with your current life as a whole?


1) ____ [record the number indicating the respondent’s life satisfaction]

2) does not know / no response



Calculate the indicator’s value by summing up the scores given by all respondents by the total number of respondents (do not include those who did not know or did not respond).

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by gender (if you ask both women and men), age group, wealth category, ethnicity or other criteria relevant to your programme.

Important Comments

1) Be very careful about which part of the questionnaire you place this question in – putting it immediately after a problematic topic (e.g. a household’s financial situation) can significantly influence the response. According to the OECD’s guidelines (see below), such subjective questions should be placed as early in the survey as possible – ideally immediately after the screening questions and household demographics.


2) Pilot the question and scale extensively, so that you ensure that people fully understand its meaning and their responses accurately represent their life satisfaction.


3) Take advantage of the useful tips provided in OECD’s Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being (see below). On page 164 you can find its comparison with an alternative method Cantril Ladder.

Access Additional Guidance

This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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