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Standard of living refers to the level of wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class in a certain geographic area, usually a country. The standard of living includes factors such as income, quality and availability of employment, class disparity, poverty rate, quality and affordability of housing, hours of work required to purchase necessities, gross domestic product, inflation rate, amount of leisure time every year, affordable (or free) access to quality healthcare, quality and availability of education, life expectancy, incidence of disease, cost of goods and services, infrastructure, national economic growth, economic and political stability, political and religious freedom, environmental quality, climate and safety. The standard of living is closely related to quality of life.
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real (i.e. inflation adjusted) income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality, and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods (such as number of refrigerators per 1000 people), or measures of health such as life expectancy. It is the ease by which people living in a time or place are able to satisfy their needs and/or wants.
The main idea of a 'standard' may be contrasted with the quality of life, which takes into account not only the material standard of living, but also other more intangible aspects that make up human life, such as leisure, safety, cultural resources, social life, physical health, environmental quality issues, etc. More complex means of measuring well-being must be employed to make such judgements, and these are very often political, thus controversial. Even between two nations or societies that have similar material standards of living, quality of life factors may in fact make one of these places more attractive to a given individual or group.
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