Quality of Life


Across America, quality of life varies from city to city. This quality can be quantified using a series of nine indexes such as the pollution index and the safety index. In this project I decided to redefine and recalculate the Quality of Life index based on my own values. I first became interested in looking at this index when I read an article on poverty and the ways in which poverty distribution further affects one’s access to other important resources. I decided to look further into the quality of life in American cities, finding this article that calculates Quality of Life in a similar manner to Numbeo (where I collected my data). Dissatisfied with the weighting of each factor considered within the overarching index, I decided to come up with a new equation to calculate the Quality of Life Index.

index = 100 + purchasingPowerInclRentIndex / 2 – (housePriceToIncomeRatio * 2.0) – cpiIndex / 5 + safetyIndex / 2.0 + climateIndex / 2.0 + healthIndex / 1.5 – pollutionIndex * 1.5 – trafficTimeIndex / 2.0 – trafficInefficiencyIndex/ 4.0 + affordabilityIndex * 5

I based the above equation on the equations listed on the Numbeo website. I decided to divide the Purchasing Power with Rent Included Index by 2 rather than 2.5 because I consider someone‚Äôs ability to buy goods from place to place to be very important, yet I also recognize that if the index was not scaled down it would have a disproportionately significant weight. I also increased the weighting of House Price to income Ratio because this index indicates if the houses are affordable based on the jobs available/ held in the area. I also increased the weight of the climate index and pollution index. I consider environmental health to be a valuable aspect of a cities overall appeal and general condition. Finally, increased the weighting of the health index for the ability to access quality healthcare has a direct relation to one’s quality of life. I balanced this scaling by including two factors the normal index goes not consider: the Traffic Inefficiency Index and the Affordability Index. Traffic inefficiency plays a large role in an individual’s living experience just like ones ability to afford housing in the area based on available loans and other factors. I used this code to calculate the new index values and produce the bar graph below, which indicates Raleigh, NC the best city in which to live out of the 45 options according to my standards and to Newsweek. Columbus, Ohio was ranked 3rd by Newsweek and 2nd by this new standard, whereas news week ranked Madison, Wisconsin 2nd and my program ranked it 3rd. From there, the rankings have fewer similarities. This variation is due both to the limited set of cities in the model and my changes to the weighting of and number of factors.

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  1. April 26, 2019 by Alex.Oliveira

    Good job on presenting data for this project. These numbers are great for identifying which cities have the best or worst quality of life. I do believe that you could have gone deeper into your research by giving real life examples and stories of people who tell why they think the city they live in has a positive or negative impact on their quality of life.

  2. April 28, 2019 by Samiha.Datta

    Nice article, Eva! I think it’s really cool that you designed your own quality of life factor and especially interesting that your top three cities closely matched up with Newsweek’s.

  3. April 29, 2019 by Annie Ma

    Wow! I’m impressed that you came up with your own equation for finding the quality of life!

  4. April 29, 2019 by Haley

    Such an interesting equation! Is there anything you would’ve added if you were designing the equation from scratch?

    • April 29, 2019 by Eva.Batelaan

      Hi Haley, there were a lot of things I considered adding; however, as I looked deeper into what was included in the current included indexes, I found that most of the potential additions were already factored into the other indexes.

  5. April 29, 2019 by Georgia.Gallagher

    I love how you decided to re-set the quality of life standard. It is a super original idea and your visual is great!

  6. April 30, 2019 by Nikhil

    Well, I live in Cleveland, so this makes me feel good. Very interesting, especially coming up with the equation.

  7. May 02, 2019 by Joseph.Wang

    Cool article! Not surprised Columbus, GA isn’t on this list. I’m quite surprised that many of the cities with the highest qualities of life are in the southeast part of the country.

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