The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) is an established tool for monitoring and analysing quality of life in the EU. Carried out in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2016, the EQLS documents the living conditions and social situation of European citizens. It includes subjective and objective measures: reported attitudes and preferences, as well as resources and experiences.
Eurofound’s approach recognises that ‘quality of life’ is a broad concept and encompasses individual well-being as well as the quality of public services and quality of society. The current report provides an overview of multiple dimensions: it examines subjective well-being, standard of living and aspects of deprivation, care responsibilities and work–life balance; healthcare, long-term care, childcare and other public services; and social insecurity, social exclusion and societal tensions, trust, and participation and community engagement.
This report covers the 28 EU Member States. It uses 2016 EQLS data and information from previous survey rounds as well as other research to assess trends in European societies. Ten years after the global economic crisis, it reviews social progress and aims to identify remaining or emerging challenges.
There are large differences in the proportion of people with low resilience by country. Bulgaria, Greece and Romania have the highest proportions of people with very low resilience, while Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden have the lowest. These country differences suggest that, rather than reflecting individual differences regarding intrinsic resilience, these answers signal that in certain countries people may be more likely to have had to deal with problems in general and/or that the problems they have had to deal with are more serious.
Many European households continue to find it difficult to make ends meet. When asked about their household’s total monthly income, 6% of respondents in the 2016 EQLS report great difficulty in making ends meet, whereas 10% say it is very easy for their household. Overall, 41% report ‘some’ to ‘great’ difficulty, but there are large differences between Member States. Even in the most affluent countries, over 10% report difficulties in making ends meet. The difference between those in the lowest income quartile and those in the highest is particularly large in Bulgaria, Italy and Portugal, though there are also large differences in countries such as France and the Netherlands. Even in the most affluent Member States, at least 30% of people in the lowest income quartile experience difficulties in getting by.
Full Report (PDF, 8 MB)